...but there has to be a balance...
I agree, I am all for balance.
But for there to be a balance both sides have to be equal. Can anyone really argue that philately is anywhere near a balance between the 'face-time' hobby and the 'online' hobby?
I can certainly list more out-of-date, poorly implemented philatelic websites than well done ones. Anyone want to defend basic online philatelic resources like the APS Glossary http://stamps.org/Glossary-of-Terms
? This pitiful one page list, with it's handful of terms, is the best an organization like APS can muster to help new hobbyists?
Surely no one would tout any of the major catalog or album publishers has having made transition to digital really well. (i.e. Amos digital catalogs were abysmal implementations.)
The major philatelic libraries have also struggled and many have now locked themselves into a technology corner but digitizing into PDFs.
And shows? How many shows have embraced technology well? It took the International Show 6 month to even produce a half-baked attendance accounting.
What does it say about the state of our hobby when eBay
can outperform ever other commercial philatelic implementation? That APS struggles, even when it is exponentially better in terms of quality material and buyer recourse, to even make it's online store pay for itself?
It seems to me that a rather large gap has grown between the traditional, organized hobby and the largest group of today's hobbyists (online folks like us). The evidence for this seems pretty apparent, simply look at the decline of local, national or international memberships rolls.
We can only make one of two conclusions; either the hobby in general is dramatically declining or a large number of hobbyists are finding they can interface with philately online and don't want/need memberships in the traditional clubs and organizations.
Can anyone point any significant effort that has been made to capture new hobbyists using online technology?
I think that we are long, long way from being close to achieving any kind of balance.