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Europe/Great Britain : Targetting the unresponsive

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cdj1122
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Silence in the face of adversity is the father of complicity and collusion, the first cousins of conspiracy..
19 May 2016
09:53:44pm
Ian Billings, who writes possibly the most consistantly informative Stamp Blog offers his opinion about the futility of trying to attract distracted youth to the hobby in this column under the Banner; "....Time for a new approach, and this isn't it!...." dated May 9th. 2016
Visiting "Norvic Philatelics" is well worth the diversion, not just for Machinistas, but all those who collect British stamps in general.

Ian's point is that children today have so many super keen electrnic gadgets, most are unlikely to collect anything as erudite as postage stamps, which as we all know seldom race down a curving highway, concealed machine guns and rocket launchers blasting away with a body count that would make Daesh envious. Better to target people who can actually read block letters and cursive (Gasp !) without a translation service at hand.

Royal Mail, however, as Ian notes, seems hellbent on trying once again to attract the disinterested youth element by lowering the quality of stamp illustrations to a post kindergarden level.
This is a part of Royal Mail's explanation as quoted in the article;
"We have tried to have some fun with this stamp issue,
designing stamps and stamp products that are particularly children-friendly
and reminiscent of the highly popular Fun Fruit and Veg stamps
issued by Royal Mail in 2003. Featuring six endearing animal characters
that will wrap around an envelope or cling on to a postcard,
these are perfect for adorning a piece of mail
and making someone smile before they have even open the envelope."


The worst thing is that this seems to be a general trend among several postal agencies. Superman, Batman, Hello Kitty and so on, postage stamps are clogging the arteries of philately and for all intents and purposes are not having the desired effect at a;;, but are, in my opinion, lowering the historical, geographical learning and cultural value of the hobby.
The target audience should be the young to middle-age adult who has reached a point in life where his, or her, life has become stable, family is established and vigorous adventures are no longer as attractive, and for me cartoon characters simply do not stimulate he inquisitive mind.
The particular issue that has raised my ire features a monkey, a snake, what may be a gorilla, a bird and what I suppose is some kind of bear, better suited to stickers bought to spice up the decorations of a pre-school child's nursery and most remind me of the "Jam Jar Labels" produced some years ago by agencies of Sand Dune nation states..

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".... You may think you understood what you thought I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you think you heard is not what I thought I meant. .... "
Brechinite
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Neddie Seagoon from The Telegoons
22 May 2016
09:36:45am

Auctions - Approvals
re: Targetting the unresponsive

Quote:

"by lowering the quality of stamp illustrations to a post kindergarten level."




Is just one of the reasons that many dealers no longer stock GB new issues. The other is the number of different varieties/sources of them.
i.e. Stamps from Sheets, Booklets, First Day Covers, Miniature Sheets, Prestige Booklets, etc etc.
To buy one of each your looking at £50-£70+ depending on the issue. How many adults, never mind kids, can afford that monthly!!


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"You gotta go oowww...Moriarity"



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"One persons idea of improvement may be detrimental to others...........Some are more equal than others. (Always to be avoided)"
Framley
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22 May 2016
11:06:07am
re: Targetting the unresponsive

A good friend of mine recently visited an auction in Dublin. While we were discussing it later, his overwhelming impression of the day was that the attendance was totally made up of "grey heads", his words not mine.

Sad but true. Although how you tempt a young person today into collecting stamps seems unanswerable.



John

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ikeyPikey
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22 May 2016
05:11:52pm
re: Targetting the unresponsive

Quote:

"... how you tempt a young person today into collecting stamps seems unanswerable ..."



Tangible is the new black.

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"I collect stamps today precisely the way I collected stamps when I was ten years old."
Guthrum
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23 May 2016
02:42:50pm
re: Targetting the unresponsive

The present desperate release ('six endearing animal characters') is probably no worse than stuff we are seeing from other countries, but one wonders what evidence Royal Mail has to support its apparent view that the way to attract children is to dumb down.

More significantly, Royal Mail seems to believe that children actually send letters these days (in quantities sufficient to make their stamps worth promoting). I cannot believe there is any evidence for that, either.

If they do want to attract buyers (as opposed to users) perhaps they might revise their idiotic, long-lasting and evidently permanent policy of releasing multi-stamp sets in denominations which are practically unusable.

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philatelia
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APS 156650 25++ years!
23 May 2016
05:18:22pm
re: Targetting the unresponsive

Not to toot our own horn, but have you ever noticed that most stamp collectors are rather erudite and usually interested in history and art? Since that is the primary demographic, why aren't the issues targeting those people? I understand the concept of attracting youth and planting a 'seed', but you need to keep their interest once they become adults, too. Many young collectors set them aside while raising families and need something interesting to bring them back into the fold. I doubt that the issues for the kids will accomplish that.

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youpiao
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23 May 2016
05:31:28pm
re: Targetting the unresponsive

Quote:

"I understand the concept of attracting youth and planting a 'seed', but you need to keep their interest once they become adults, too. Many young collectors set them aside while raising families "



From my own experience (I have 2 nieces who collected when they were young girls), it seems young people abandon stamps when they abandon their other childish interests, such as Strawberry Shortcake and Pokemon. Not only does this "juvenilization" of stamp subjects have questionable value in attracting young collectors, but it also provides impetus for "aging" youngsters who collect to drop the childish activity.


Ted
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cdj1122
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Silence in the face of adversity is the father of complicity and collusion, the first cousins of conspiracy..
24 May 2016
12:26:25am
re: Targetting the unresponsive

Six grown children current ages 33 to 46, all passed through the small stamp books filled with "attractive" stamps, often in some topic, seldom with any pre 1949, and not one who seems interested in joining the hobby. They are all willing to watch for stamps or covers with postage stamps having been used. They are willing to drive me to a st5amp show and wander around quietly while I browse through dealer stocks. And if I show any interest in some reference book or partial collection but walk away, choosing yo distribute my wealth ( LOL ! ) elsewhere, often as not I'll find the item stuffed in my bag on the way home or wrapped up for X-mas or a birthday.
But none collect stamps. And the same is true for my grand children so far, although the oldest is just 21 or 22.
Perhaps I should have pushed it on them ?
I hope the promising comments are even more fruitful, but I simply do not see it happening.
I went to the TSDA stamp show last Saturday and picked through thousands of stamps, acquired a more recent GB Concise, but it was a bunch of almost ancient gray heads serving equally old, gray and decrepit gray heads.

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".... You may think you understood what you thought I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you think you heard is not what I thought I meant. .... "
amsd
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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
24 May 2016
08:31:43am
re: Targetting the unresponsive

Charlie, I love it that the kids are interested enough to pick up on what you like but don't get.

Pushing a hobby..... no, unless it's music or gymnastics or something like that where early training is essential to mastery; just the opposite in stamps, where we nurse on colorful CTOs, are weaned on definitives, and grow up to be either specialists or WWs collectors (both of which I admire)


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"Save the USPS, buy stamps; save the hobby, use commemoratives"

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malcolm197
26 Jun 2016
01:54:11pm
re: Targetting the unresponsive

Half the problem with "dumbing down" is that the postal administrations are just following the trend. We were taught History,Geography, and Religious Knowledge - now students are taught some nebulous subject called "integrated Humanities" whatever that is.

How we continue to produce serious academics in History,Archaeology and Geography I do not know. I suspect most of them are products of the Public ( private - don't ask !!)School system - and yet "popular" history programmes on TV have never been more popular. I regularly watch these on satellite TV ( including, U.S.members please note PBS ).

The combination of no mail and electronic gizmos is the downfall of not only stamp collecting but many other intellectual pursuits. In addition texting and social media seem to keep human interraction at the most superficial level

I would like to think that this is a passing phase -howsever I have a son nearing 40 who still plays electronic games - and he holds a senior procurement position with a multinational company so he is seriously intelligent and competent ! In his defence he is also involved in competitive athletics and mountain biking - however he seems to have no intellectual content in his life outside his work ( he doesn't seem to read recreationally either).This saddens me no end. He is most unlikely to take up stamp collecting, reading or other stimulating hobby in retirement.

I think if we are honest most of our stamp interest as a juvenile was pretty shallow and superficial - and it is only as an adult that there is any great satisfaction in it. I am not particularly worried about the lack of junior collectors, but it is the prospect of my sons age-group being unlikely to take it up in later life which is a more serious issue.

Malcolm

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ikeyPikey
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26 Jun 2016
04:01:59pm
re: Targetting the unresponsive

Quote:

"... In addition texting and social media seem to keep human interraction at the most superficial level ..."



I thank my Bronze Age Mythological SuperBeing that teenagers on public transport are now texting, instead of speaking aloud.

I mean, like, you know, have you ever, like, you know, listened to them?

Text, children, text!

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey
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"I collect stamps today precisely the way I collected stamps when I was ten years old."
Jupiter1010
03 Aug 2016
03:41:34am
re: Targetting the unresponsive

I'm not so pessimistic about the future of our hobby. Reflecting on my own engagement in stamp collecting I started as a child and my interest tailed off in the teenage years. I maintained a passing interest in adult years, but frankly there were more pressing needs for my hard earned cash than buying stamps. I returned to stamp collecting in a serious way after the family had grown up, the house paid off and I had more cash in my pocket. Now in retirement it is one of my many interests, I attend large UK national stamp fairs, where there is no shortage of dealers or people purchasing from them and the same goes for the monthly stamp fairs in my local region. I visit stamp auctions at least once or twice a month, which are well attended and there is healthy bidding for good quality material, The eventual demise of stamp collecting / philately is a frequent discussion at the the two local Philatellic societies I attend. Yes, the average age of members is well over 70, but new younger members do appear, and there are many keen, active people who are working to see the hobby adapt to new technology and different ways of doing things, for example new competition categories that enable the average collector rather than specialist to enter their material.

The stamp issuing policies of postal authorities are in my view irrelevant to the future of the hobby, although they can act as a hook that gets people interested initially. Perhaps we need to accept that stamp collecting is a hobby more designed for people with time on their hands, an enquiring active mind which stamp collecting can stimulate and some extra cash, Stamp collecting / philatelly will need to adapt to the needs of future generations of collectors at all levels, ( Stamporama is a fine example of how that can be done,) and changes will occur, particularly in the market place, but I believe the future of the hobby is secure for many generations to come.

John (Jupiter1010)


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smauggie
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03 Aug 2016
09:11:06am
re: Targetting the unresponsive

There will always be people drawn to the beauty, intrigue and fun of philately.

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malcolm197
03 Aug 2016
04:53:05pm
re: Targetting the unresponsive

Going back to my days as a 30 -something semi-interested collector visiting my local stamp club ( just to see what it was like !) I remember that I was the youngest there by some 20+ years ( and I never went back !). It follows that all those 60 year olds plus have now passed on, and been replaced by " new-entry " 60 years olds plus.

As long as there is a constant supply of new 60 year olds we have nothing to worry about !

Malcolm

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Bobstamp
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03 Aug 2016
11:29:34pm
re: Targetting the unresponsive

Jupiter1010 said,

Quote:

"The stamp issuing policies of postal authorities are in my view irrelevant to the future of the hobby, although they can act as a hook that gets people interested initially."



Based on my childhood experiences, the issuing policies of U.S. Post Office Department, as it was called way back then, greatly influenced my collecting. There were very few issues each year. I started collecting in 1952. In 1953, the U.S. issued 11 commemorative stamps and one airmail stamp. The total cost of single stamps was 47 cents, $4.16 in today's dollar. Of course I went whole hog and bought plate blocks! There is no way, however, that my small allowance could have financed my stamp collecting if issuing policies then had been what they are today.

I don't think it was the low number of stamps or their cost which was the deciding factor. Hazel Moore, the postmaster in my tiny village, Arenas Valley, New Mexico, always told me about new issues and would search through sheets of stamps to find the best centred copies. The postmaster in a nearby Fort Bayard administered my Boy Scout stamp collecting merit badge test (I passed with a perfect score) and then gave me a tour of the post office, which was probably a serious breach of security. A few years later, "Toad" Wilson, a clerk in the post office in Silver City, where my dad worked, always gave me a friendly welcome and spent time searching out good copies of new stamps for me.

The post office wasn't my only source of stamps. I bought approvals from H.E. Harris and the Garcelon and Kenmore companies. But it was the post offices which put a human face on stamp collecting. If those postmasters and clerks had been as ignorant of stamp collecting as most of today's postal clerks are, I doubt that my hobby would ever have taken flight. I discuss my early collecting experiences at greater length in my web page, Box 28; the full title is "Box 28, Arenas Valley, NM — A tiny country post office played a big role in my youth".

Bob


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www.ephemeraltreasures.net
phook
04 Aug 2016
02:04:05am
re: Targetting the unresponsive

Interesting discussion.

I stopped collecting when I hit my teens, then started again a few years ago (around 50). I collect much in the same way as when I was young, more for enjoyment than for value. I'm not (at the moment) especially interested in specialising. I do enjoy the design/art and history of the subject on the stamps, as well as the simple process of collecting in itself.

I took my teenage daughter to a local stamp fair a while ago. I was pretty much the youngest person there, apart from my daughter. Only a couple of dealers actively spoke with me, only one dealer (a postcard dealer) actively spoke to my daughter. So not really terribly welcoming to new or returning collectors. My daughter isn't especially interested in collecting, and doesn't.

Quote:

"We were taught History,Geography, and Religious Knowledge - now students are taught some nebulous subject called "integrated Humanities" whatever that is."



The aforementioned daughter will continue to learn all three of these subjects up to the age of 16.

I'm sure the hobby will continue in some shape or form. Probably saved by the internet, which has made buying and researching very easy.

Whether young people get involved depends on what you, the older people, do to promote it...





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Machinhigh
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04 Aug 2016
04:05:03am
re: Targetting the unresponsive

Yes all very interesting what Education is being taught today I'd like to draw your attention to this http://www.twghscgms.edu.hk/publish/student-hb/bhb-2010-2011.pdf note the header image all of the students are in 1 man cubicles thus no cheating and give 100% attention to the course paper, but then that's the Chinese for ya.

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