YouTube & Sports Cards – Is it a Happy Marriage?
Many things have changed in the face of sports card and memorabilia collecting. There has been a definite evolution of the hobby since the mid 80s well into the early 90s. Long gone are the days of going to your local sports card shop and purchasing a hobby box of Upper Deck, or Topps, and then coming home to bust some wax in your bedroom with a couple of friends; putting aside all your goodies in a shoe box to store conveniently under your bed until the next box you break. No one can really see your nasty hits, or see the personal collection you may have amassed over the weeks, months, and years passed.
The world of sports card and memorabilia collecting, just like everything else in today's' cyber society has grown exponentially due in large part to the internet. Passionate fans and collectors now have a global forum in which they can utilize various social media networking sites to connect with other hobbyists as well as to promote their own collections, trade and sell cards, perform group breaks, personal breaks, and so on. With this new introduction of technology, the average card collector can share their personal highs and lows with who ever is willing to watch, and in some cases participate. eBay and other online auctions have also made it easier for collectors to get what they desire. One does not necessarily have to spend hundreds of dollars on hobby boxes to receive the cards or memories they are chasing. It is as easy as click-it-ti-clic with the touch of the mouse and you are one step closer to owning what ever you would like, for a price that is.
The online auctions did not come as any great surprise to me, but what was the use of YouTube and Blogtv amongstst collectors. I would venture to say that there are hundreds of video posting on YouTube everyday, filled with people showing off their personal collections, doing personal breaks, selling mystery packs, holding raffles, trading cards, and hosting events called group breaks. Group breaks are quite interesting. One or more people decide to host a group break by purchasing a couple of hobby boxes, and then they sell spots off to other collectors for a set price to help off set the purchase price of the boxes bought initially. The spot sold to the collector also comes with a random drawing of teams. Once the collector has been assigned his / her team you break the box and what ever cards from the assigned team, which are filled go to the owner of that spot. Everyone is hiring for a tremendous hit, it is like entering into a mini lottery. This is appealing to collectors for two reasons. The first being that it makes normally high end boxes accessible to those out there who do not have the money to go out and buy a box of say Exquisite Basketball, which can run you as much as $ 500.00 a box. The second reason this phenomenon is so enticing is that it is just a great way to socialize and hangout with people who share the same common interest as you.
Not everything is sugar and gum drops in the land of YouTube sports card community though. As I have become more familiar with the community as a whole, I have noticed that it can be a competitive place. There are people vying for the most subscribers to their channel, which really is simply boiled down to bragging rights over the airwaves. Just like on eBay, you can also find your "unscrupulous" sharks that will set up false trades and sales, which is tantamount to robbery if you ask me. And last but not least the infamous rant video. This in my opinion is the ugliest side of YouTube by far. YouTube is a free forum no doubt, and I agree that people have the freedom and liberty to respectfully disagree with the content in a particular posting that is made and be able to respond to it. What people do not have the right to do, is slander people online, use racial slurs when making comments or video responses. But unfortunately this goes on quite a bit in the card collecting community, as I suspect it does in other hobby based forums. The purpose behind making YouTube postings and going on blogtv, at least to my humble understanding, was to share your thoughts on the hobby, see what other people are doing within the hobby, and finally network and make some friends out of it; the bottom line is to have fun.
These are all the positive aspects to taking sports collecting online and advancing it into the new millennium. Unfortunately, progress can not come without its negatives, and the trash talking that takes place on these social networking outlets is beyond ridiculous. It is not doing anything for the hobby in terms of promoting it; in fact it is rather intimidating to watch. Especially for a person who is just getting back into the hobby, or who is getting into it for the first time. This hobby originally began as a way children could enjoy their favorite sport, player, and team beyond the field. It has now been taken over by a majority of adults who choose to bicker over minor differences in opinion, and this taints the hobby and turns the adults into kids. Many times the "rant" or "response" video or comment is unfortunately made to entice viewers to check out a members channel and then subscribe to it. Which then leads me to ask the question; is the response video legitimate or is it just a marketing ploy used by the savvy YouTuber for personal gain? I suppose you would have to judge that for yourself. All in all I think that YouTube and sports collecting of any type is a compatible match, it may need a little counseling from time to time in order to get over the rough patches, but in the end I believe they can live together, happily ever after.