I enjoy a good book just as much as anyone else, but my wife is nothing short of a bookworm. Her happy place is resting in her “egg-chair” with a good book and a warm cup of coffee, while our oversized cocker spaniel spreads out on her lap. Recently she started a “bookstagram” where she shares her thoughts about recent reads and takes book suggestions from followers. She seems to enjoy interacting with fellow bookworms, teachers, and at times authors. As any husband should, I provided support, encouragement, and my opinion when solicited, but otherwise, I just let her enjoy her newfound outlet to share her passion.
I didn’t give it much more thought until I stumbled upon a stack of business cards while doing some much-needed organization in my home office about a month or so ago. Within that stack was a card from a younger world coin dealer I met at the Memphis show a few years back. I remember our conversation so vividly because he mentioned that beyond the Memphis show, his entire business was conducted on Instagram. At the time, I was shocked because I didn’t think social media platforms would be instrumental given the general population that they are catered to, but geesh was I wrong. I took a glance, and I soon realized that there are some genuinely top-notch sellers actively buying and selling on several social media platforms.
I mentioned this to my wife, who, half-joking suggested I create an Instagram account for my coin collection. I am not active enough on this forum for most of you to have a feel for who I am as a person, but let me assure you, her suggestion was rather comical. Even before the pandemic, I never had an interest in social media platforms, primarily because I much prefer spending time with friends in person over what is often superficial virtual interactions. It was not until my junior of college that I even created a Facebook account, and I only did so to keep in touch with the friends I made overseas while studying abroad. I have the app on my phone, but I wouldn’t even begin to guess my password after many years of inactivity. As wives tend to do, she teased me, suggesting my “coinstagram” might muster a few dozen followers, and I tended to agree with her. After all, coin collecting seems like such an odd hobby to many people, and coin collectors are indeed a unique breed.
In good fun, I took her up on her challenge and created an Instagram page for my collection, and I am having a blast! Who would have thought that I, of all people, would enjoy social media? Most of my friends are shocked, and my wife thinks the whole endeavor is rather comical. I have been posting a coin from my collection with a brief, often historical write-up almost every day, and the community seems to be very supportive. To make things even better, I get to check out some truly amazing coins that others share from their collections. It’s almost like the “post your newest additions” thread but much more active. I see at least a dozen coins a day that I never even knew existed, and I find myself more tempted than ever to expand my collecting interests. In that regard, I suppose Instagram may be a bit of a bad influence.
In part, I decided to share my experience here because of Jeff Garrett’s article discussing the potential impact social media and internet groups could have on our hobby. It is interesting to see so many coin dealers moving to online platforms in the wake of the pandemic. I had always assumed this would take the form of dedicated websites, but I never pondered the potential role of social media platforms until recently. Amid the pandemic with most shows being canceled, I would hazard to guess that the role of these platforms is likely to expand. As discussed by Garrett, the business component is interesting, but I can’t help but wonder if this increased push into social media platforms will expand exposure to potential new collectors. Perhaps this may even bring in more young collectors who are the primary consumers of social media. Of course, the flip side of that issue is that it could turn into another platform for misinformation, such as the “get rich quick” videos all over YouTube. What are your thoughts? Do you think social media platforms will have an impact on the hobby? If so, do you think it will be mostly positive or negative?