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RANT: Social media and its how it effects the hobby.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Reef Medic Clay, Dec 27, 2018.

  1. Reef Medic Clay Well-Known ReefKeeper Leadership Team GIRS Member

    Des Moines, IA
    +110 / 0 / -0
    Hold on tight, because this post is probably going to be a long and wordy one! I'll include some pictures so it's not so boring lol. Anyway, I've been is this hobby since about 2011. In the short 7 years that have passed since then, I've seen fads come and go (chalices, zoas, acros, etc..). Also in that time, I've seen a rapid advancement in technology and reefkeeping practices. It's amazing to see some of the systems out there these days. Unfortunately, along with these advances, I've noticed the role social media (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram mainly) has played in expanding the hobby. On one hand, it's been an awesome resource to expand awareness for the hobby. This hobby seems to maintain a very strong mindset that is pro-conservation. Regardless of what some on the outside think, most hobbyists want to see the oceans and other ecosystems cared for. A large amount of content has been put out there to bring awareness for aquacultured corals and fish, which as you all know is huge for preservation of natural reefs. ​


    Here's a shot of a reef I snorkeled at off the northern shore of Jamaica.
    It's easy to see why we would want to protect these reefs and bring awareness to their beauty. However, I've also noticed the trend of social media reef attention grabbing. Many seem to either want to become YouTube famous, get sponsored for free gear, or simply crowdfund their "new builds." An example that comes to mind is a channel that started a GoFundMe account to raise $5,000 for their dream build. It was quickly taken down, as this channel was flagged with a large amount of bad publicity. The frustrating part of this is the fact that we all would love 5K to build a new tank. I can tell you, I'd much rather donate my money into my own tank fund so I can build a tank for ME to enjoy in MY house. I don't expect anybody else (especially my wife!) to support me in this hobby. This has all been just about doing my thing. Sure, I love seeing pictures of peoples' builds and systems. It gives serious inspiration and ideas for my own tank. But I don't think it's right for these same people to make fools of themselves to get noticed by a company, only to make embarrassing attempts to get sponsored for free gear. Furthermore, I find it insulting that these same people then turn that around and ask you to enter a contest to win a product. Nah, I'm going to do this the old fashioned way. There are so many channels out there with clickbait titles, designed to entice you into watching their crappy videos and asking you to "smash that subscribe button." What happened to informative videos? Demonstrate how to keep a gorgeous tank, not just how big of a tank you can set up. Not just how you "quit the freshwater planted tank hobby." Not just how you "accidentally" did something stupid. Ugh... I sound like a salty old man. As a Millennial (I'm 28), I am embarrassed!


    Here's a recent shot of my tank. I don't see the need to "pimp" it out for likes or recognition. It's in my house for me to enjoy.
    Lastly, I find it utterly ridiculous how expensive some corals have gotten. Now before you rip my head off, I get it. Economics, supply and demand, nothing can be for free, but it's super colorful and rare, blah, blah, blah. Is it REALLY worth it to pay $800 for a 3/4 acro frag? Or more? Yes, I get that it's colorful, but there's a LOT of colorful corals out there. Isn't the color of corals the reason we got into this hobby to begin with? How about we share. A large quantity of corals look different in other peoples' systems. That's amazing to me! Still not worth $800 for a small frag. On top of that, what's with these named corals? I don't care about this ultra rare Joson Faxx (yes, name has been changes for ethical purposes, but you get it) Rainbow Bubblegum Unicornfart Sludge Monster Montipora. Just because a name is attached, people shell out a ton of money to get these pieces. After they get them, they'll turn around, frag them to death, and sell for almost just as much. Man, let your corals grow a little! Enjoy them! It's seriously awesome to see how corals grow, the shapes they can form, the colors they can exhibit!


    Seriously? This price with 2 days left. I have this exact same coral in my tank, directly from WWC no less, that I got for $30 for 4 heads... But, alas, supply and demand I guess.
    Okay, so my mom always told me, complaining is not very becoming of a person. With that being said, let's end this rant on a high note. Bravo to GIRS, the reef keeping community, and the good that social media can do! I love keeping reef aquariums. If I could do this as a full time job, I would. After meeting a good handful of you on here, I have realized how wonderful of a community we have. You all are great. Please, keep it up! Now let's see those builds!! Just remember why you got into this hobby in the first place.



    Yours truly, working hard as usual!
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  2. Waterrat41 Addicted Reefer GIRS Member

    Des moines
    +125 / 0 / -0
  3. DangerJ Well-Known ReefKeeper Board of Directors Leadership Team GIRS Member

    Des Moines, IA
    +320 / 4 / -0
    Clay, what a well-composed rant.

    I spend probably too much time in the late evenings browsing YT for a myriad of different hobbies. What you describe is not solely limited to reefkeeping, but rather an epidemic across all interests when it comes down to the social media platform. It is completely unfortunate but with how YT aggregates videos and prioritizes placement, the people begging for subscriptions and putting out contests end up at the top of the stack. It's beyond annoying and does a disservice to those that are seeking out knowledge rather than vapid entertainment.

    I've always had a good chuckle with a healthy eye-roll at designer corals and their pricing. We won't ever rid the hobby of the trend-chasers who need the elite corals...but again you'll have that with just about every interest. Car dudes do it too, gun guys foam at the mouth over new gear, have you ever spoken to a serious golf enthusiast?:roflmao::roflmao::roflmao: Guys will spend five figures for a Scotty Cameron limited edition putter head cover....and then never use it!

    One thing to keep in mind.

    For every obnoxious person creating empty content, there are two dozen other people quietly maintaining their reefs and growing the hobby. They help out others, continually learn, and provide great examples for people new to keeping a tank.

    Keep up the good fight.
  4. Dave Experienced Reefkeeper GIRS Member

    Des Moines Area
    +400 / 1 / -0
    Agree wholeheartedly.

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