Launching your country is often the easy part. Ten minutes max on Twitter will do it. Slightly more for a website, though advertisers love to market to viewers on any page that draws eyeballs, so website hosts — and setting up a free site — are now remarkably easy. Or pin a tweet to the top of your Twitter feed that summarizes important info and you have the makings of a mini-website already.
Find the 280-character limit a challenge? See it first as a discipline: prioritize! What matters most about your nation? Is it like Northmearc, “an Old English Micronational Monarchy”, which has as its principal focus a Twitter-only celebration of all things Old English? Is it Molossia, perhaps the most successful of micronations in its public visibility, its extensive self-promotion, its level-headed service to micronationalists of almost every stripe, and the obvious pleasure it brings to its ruler Kevin Baugh?
On Twitter, Sovermia tries to serve as a prod to peer micronations for greater clarity, depth and maturity in their presentation, or as one of our tags puts it, “modeling a better micronation and replacing political frustration with creative action”. It’s not the only thing we’re “about”, but it gives us one clear focus for our online identity. In small ways, we try to ask the difficult question, challenge empty thinking, puncture self-importance, encourage cultural development, reign in some of the more self-destructive tendencies among the teen micronationalists that flood Twitter, and so forth. We consider this a service of our Ministries of State and Education.
A highly inconvenient truth micronationalists must confront is that it’s both easy and very often justified for most people to dismiss the whole micronational phenomenon.
Part of the “now what?” of the title is a micronationalist’s response to that challenge.
Earlier this morning we saw a tweet — just their second in almost as many days on Twitter — from a new micronation asking for “allies”. As with the dog-on-a-chain in your neighbor’s front yard that lunges for every car that passes by, most spanking new micronationalists wouldn’t know what to do with actual allies if they caught them.
Why should anyone care about (new) nation Zozazia? What does it want or need allies for? We don’t even know anything about it yet.
So give us reasons. As How to Start Your Own Micronation urges, “Go do something in the name of your nation”.
Take a look and you’ll see this features as a prime Molossian strategy. You might call it the 4 Ps: participate in events, photograph that participation, post the pix online and promote yourself. As evidence Molossia excels at this, it’s the subject of an episode of CNN’s Great Big Story (a name whose irony isn’t lost on micronationalists).
With all this in mind, here are 10 prompts to strengthen your identity and promote it once you’ve got a grip on it. (Getting that grip in the first place will be the subject of a coming post.)
1) Claim land? “Own it”! For instance, why not clean up trash on it? Put up national markers — flags, signposts, placards in your national language, etc. — that will appear in the background when you take that great photo of your service to your nation.
2) Got (or want) a unique micronational tradition? Figure out what it is, talk it up and photograph yourself celebrating it.
3) Engage in or support an unusual form of government? Educate yourself about it, create brochures summarizing it to give away in public, and — you guessed it — photograph yourself doing it.
4) Visiting someplace “abroad” — i.e., anywhere beyond your borders? Write it and light it up.
5) Developing your culture in some way? Create a national language like Sovermia and others have, and you’ll almost magically uncover cultural roots you can then begin to describe with words, stories and poems in that language.
6) See a micronational challenge that needs addressing, or a place where you can serve the community? Several micronations provide micronational news services to other nations on Twitter, retweeting posts to those who follow them. The House of Mithras is drafting courses for a micronational university, and has launched a Gofundme campaign to support it. Among its many other projects, Molossia supports the micronational Olympics and MicroCon, a biennial convention of micronational leaders.
7) Reflect on your commitment and degree of micronational seriousness. Then act on it. As How to Start Your Own Micronation puts it,
On the matter of micronational seriousness, a few notes. This is a subject that can be quite vexing for the new micronationalist. There are several serious micronational efforts out there, and they take themselves very seriously. They tend to avoid elements in their nations that are not mostly grounded in reality; no fictional histories, actual possession or at least claims of real places, not fictional, never any “fake” citizens, all real. Their goal, in many cases, is actual independence, on some scale or another. Most will not open diplomatic relations with less than serious micronations, feeling that to have open communications with less serious nations may damage their micronation’s reputation and endanger their goal of sovereignty.
It varies from micronation to micronation, but seriousness can be a real sticking point in micronational relations. As a new micronationalist, it is important not to get too annoyed when certain nations refuse to recognize yours, or even reply to your e-mails. That is their way of doing things, and you have yours. Seek nations that are at your level of seriousness, and open relations with them.
8) After you’ve reflected on your level and degree of micronational seriousness, bear in mind that whatever your commitment,
… you represent your nation at all times. NATION. Not a cute little website that you call a nation. If you are going to play the game, play it right. Your purpose, whether serious or not, is to have your own country. Behave that way at all times, as if your nation were real. In this way, you will gain respect from your peers and gain greater standing in the micronational world.
Another way to think of it is to match what you do with what you expect from others. A wide disparity in this regard is the cause of most of the micronational silliness out there.
9) If you stick with it, your micronation can become an extension of your own life journey. It will grow and change as you do. If some alliances or partnerships fall away, others will appear and may come to matter deeply. A degree of patience will serve any micronation well. Even as we weather bad macronational leaders and policies, we can learn to take the downs and ups of our micronations in stride. After all, it’s living history we can write about!
10) “Find the pleasure”! Above all, micronationalism should be enjoyable. Otherwise, why are we doing it? Too many micronations misunderstand sovereignty — the self-sufficiency of a micronation independent of any other nations. A grumpy nation just isn’t fun to be in or around. We don’t need allies, or even any particular degree of acknowledgement of our existence, though that can indeed be gratifying. If we attend to developing our nations first, that kind of acknowledgment will come in time, and deservedly so. What aspect of your nation pleases you most? That’s one sure guide to its growth and prosperity. Delight in it, then share that delight.
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NOTE: Individual posts express the opinions and perspectives of the author and do not necessarily reflect official Sovermian policy or practice, unless explicitly indicated as such in a particular post.