People have asked me quite often why is the German Helmet Vault not on Facebook ? There are various reasons. From the onset I have never been keen to throw my life online for all to see. In recent years so much data has been harvested from people’s accounts , data that’s offered to the highest bidder , that I’m glad that I did not participate in that scheme.
I find it still remarkable that Facebook was able to get people on their platform with their full names as usernames. Seeing how things progressed for the worse I don’t think it’s smart to walk in the online world under your birth name. I’m for 100% anonimity as far as it is possible to do so.
But that’s my personal motivation , so what about the website ? In the early days of the website I was considering a Facebook page but there was a reluctancy of course due to my personal reservations , another factor was taken into account as well. Censorship.
Facebook policy gives them power to delete whole pages and Facebook groups without looking at the context. The swastika is a forbidden symbol and pages , photos or groups are deleted without investigation.
On one hand I understand the necessity to police their platform against extremist groups but they should make the distinction between groups dedicated to military history and collecting and bald people with swastika tattoos on their forehead. We are miles apart. Couple the swastika ban with the fact that they have your name and data and it becomes a little bit creepy. True World war 2 militaria collectors don’t run around the neighbourhood showing their German helmets or flags , it’s first and foremost a personal passion shared with like minded individuals. But online , on Facebook , we don’t do that , we show and tell. I think that’s a mistake.
Funny thing is even now the platform has been proven not to be ideal for WW2 collectors that are into Third Reich militaria , it’s still being used , people go to the trouble of photoshopping the swastika’s from their photos.
The alternative ? Facebook has emptied out the smaller forums but it’s not in the interest of the hobby as forums are a much safer environment where you are only showing your collection to like minded individuals. Where a posting history shows someone’s track record and where you can hide behind an alias. But not just that , forums have a good search function that allows you to do serious research. I use it a lot to find examples of rare helmets. The bigger forums like German Helmet Walhalla , Wehrmacht awards and Warelics have been around for almost 2 decades and the amount of information they have gathered is a treasure trove for both new and old collectors.
I want to make it clear I am not discrediting some of the excellent Militaria groups that exist on Facebook. There are several that set high standards. (I have been told) But Big brother is watching them all , that is no conspiracy theory. Just fact.
In the end it’s about learning and informing and different venues can have different benefits. It’s not about us or them. Facebook versus forums. You can perfectly be part of all venues and let your participation depend on the quality of the venue. But for those that seriously want to dive in feet first into this wonderful hobby I strongly recommend to subscribe to the forums mentioned above.