Klein’s Korner: New chat landscape – First of all, I would like to wish everyone happy holidays and may 2021 be a far better yearthan 2020 for all of us. A note for 2021 here: is that we have been transitioning this column to use the present to focus more on the past and the trend will continue in 2021. This will be the best of yesterday and today; but if a really important current topic hits we will discuss.

Now, onto the topic of the day, and I’m going to start with a message I received earlier this month:

Attention: We’re shutting down the AOL Desktop Gold Chat Rooms. As of December 15, 2020, members will no longer be able to use Chat Rooms. All other AOL Desktop Gold features will continue to function as expected, and there will be no other changes to your account or email service. For more information, check out our help article.

While the hobby has exploded, the costs on personal levels has been way too much for so many of us to bear.

You see the above message from AOL Management was something while not totally unexpected was a quiet way to put an end to the chat room era. For more than a quarter century people would meet, learn about each other, have fun or just get involved one way or the other in one of their interests.

The good news for our hardy bunch is we have now transitioned to a room in Wire Club and many of our former players who did not stay on AOL have returned. While there have been some minor hiccups, the move has gone extremely well.

However, the most important part is the sense of community which exists. While this year has been a real downer for those who have not been able to do a lot of in-person events since March, those of us with ways of connecting are forming our own hobby communities. My friends from New Jersey still have their Facebook group about the Garfield Card Show and Coffee Clatch. As an honorary member of the group, one of the biggest personal disappointments for me in 2020 was not being to see many of those members for the first time in nearly 15 years. But with the news about the vaccine, I’m feeling pretty confident we will have a 2021 NSCC and then 2022 in Atlantic City. I realize that is a small price to pay but being able to see people in person has been so rare for many of us in 2020. Yes in the DFW area we’ve been fortunate to have events continue but many people have not shared our good fortune.

One great aspect about the hobby in 2020 has been the friendships created. We are lucky in we can see many of these friendships flourish. One random Monday night I was looking for something to have in the background on YouTube whilst doing some normal email reading at home. The site suggested I see the weekly conversation between 3B Collection and TX Card Dude. It’s just fun to hear two hobbyists from 1500 miles apart, who were born the same year, and have fairly similar collecting interests just have their weekly talk. But, the best part is watching the chat and participating. Many of these chatters follow each other and our conversations have been funny and just as much fun as hearing the hosts talk. The communities of people listening to the podcasts are close in ways we don’t even recognize.

So, for 2021 my hobby wish is we continue to build our online communities, whether it be message boards, Zoom, Instragram, YouTube or whatever service one uses for communications and also rejoice when we can return to a new normal of in-person events. I personally cannot wait till I see some of you again and remember we share this great hobby and as long as we stay part of how many groups we’re comfortable with then we’ll be able to grow this hobby even more in 2021. Just think, adding more person-to-person contact to what we’ve built as a hobby in 2020 might only exacerbate our growth and 2021 might be the best time for this hobby since the early 1990’s.

On a personal note, I have more cards to give away than ever for the next time we have our Adat Chaverim show. We now have over 2 million cards in at least three locations ready to give away.

See you in 2021! And good riddance to 2020!

Rich’s vast experience and knowledge of the hobby has been well documented through the years. GTS is happy to feature his thoughts on collecting in Klein’s Korner. The opinions expressed are his and do not necessarily reflect those of GTS Distribution.


Klein’s Korner: New chat landscape

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