Author Topic: Numismatics and Social Media  (Read 405 times)

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Offline Jonathan Ouellet

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Numismatics and Social Media
« on: May 22, 2021, 02:59:11 AM »
Hey Everyone,
So I have a small numismatics themed channel that I started a few months ago:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCncROxsJFyJofRBv5K2NWEA

I have wondered how can social media and other forms of communication be used to promote numismatics and encourage young scholars to have an interest in the field?

What are peoples thoughts?

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Numismatics and Social Media
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2021, 11:43:56 AM »
First, we have a video collection on WoC. It is organised by subject, exactly the same way as WoC. The way to get into the video collection is to post a topic on the relevant board. One of our members, Oklahoman, produces episodes on banknotes regularly and posts them all in one thread here. If you do videos on subjects that live on different boards, I recommend that you post them in one thread on the correct boards, so they'll end up in the correct place in the video collection, and all your videos will be together in your name.

If you contribute to a WoC monthly event (recommended), your presentation will also go to the collection.

Second, I would argue that the term "social media" is a severe misnomer outside the US. In the US, social means thing like in company, together, communicating. In the rest of the world, it is a political term that encompasses concepts like solidarity, discrimination of workers, co-ops and employees acting and negotiating together. Interactive sites would have been much better, but that term may have been too abused by hyper-ventilating marketeers for sites that promise you a free quarter or even a stuffed animal if you reveal personal details that allow them to persecute you with spam until death.

Nevertheless, interactive, or participative sites illustrates nicely the difference between sites such as Facebook and Twitter and contributive sites such as Youtube and Wikipedia. The first are active, in the sense that everyone aims at reaching everyone else, they are more like newspapers and the goals are unclear. The second are passive, in the sense that they are more like libraries, having a more (Wikipedia) or less (Youtube) clear goal: storing knowledge or visual information.

In my opinion, Facebook and Twitter have no credibility. Not only because every idiot, extremist and compulsive lier can post whatever arises in their twisted mind, but primarily because fact checking is so weak that it is in fact virtually absent and full of crazy errors, like banning pictures of Michelangelo's David because of nudity. Youtube does better, but it has work to do on weeding out immoral stuff and protecting children. Wikipedia has strong fact checking procedures, though since they are populated by amateurs, mistakes do happen. It follows that I think Youtube can be an appropriate channel, because it is NOT what is commonly called "social media".

Your two questions are whether 1) Youtube can be used to promote numismatics and 2) to encourage young scholars to have an interest in the field. I would assume that Youtube is normally entered with a Google-type search. Say, you found a coin in the garden. You washed it. It has all kinds of things you don't understand, a coat of arms and a single word yo do understand: island. Ah, but which island? You Google "youtube coin arms island" and your second hit is "1 Island Krona Coin From 1971 [Coat of Arms] - YouTube". Problem solved. This will encourage the proud owner of the coin to use Wikipedia to see if there really is an island called Island and discover that way back in time it was the ultimate stopover for Norsemen travelling to North America. From there, it can go anywhere or nowhere.

Compare that with your young scholar, who, I presume freshly admitted in university. His (there are few hers and nobody knows why) prime sources of information are teachers, the university library and perhaps a local museum. If they get interested in using the net for numismatics, they'll want to be pro-active: putting stuff up. They may be aware of "approved" data bases of coins and numismatic literature. The basic point is, they tend (there are always exceptions) not to Google around but rather to have a collection of URLs. My answer to your questions would be 1) definitely, but not in any big way: your contributions will drown in the mass and must be angled up by Google 2) only for those like you, who know how to combine pro and private interests and appreciate that there are amateurs out there who are at the same level as pro numismatic thought leaders. They are few, young and they will take over eventually, but not next week.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Jonathan Ouellet

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Re: Numismatics and Social Media
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2021, 03:50:26 AM »
A lot of questions to ponder.

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If you contribute to a WoC monthly event (recommended), your presentation will also go to the collection.

I will be submitting some ideas over the next couple months.

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there are few hers and nobody knows why

This is something I have noted and wondered a lot about. Is there something that we as numismatist can do to encourage more people to be involved in numismatics, especially from more diverse backgrounds?

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Numismatics and Social Media
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2021, 07:57:49 AM »
I will be submitting some ideas over the next couple months.

Excellent! Looking forward.

This is something I have noted and wondered a lot about. Is there something that we as numismatist can do to encourage more people to be involved in numismatics, especially from more diverse backgrounds?

In general, numismatics as a science is not doing well. I can think of a number of museums that used to have an impressive display of coins and now show only a handful as well as at least two dedicated money museums that have closed. India is a bright spot. Within that context, WoC is doing well, growing slowly and attracting bright people from a majority of countries with a large diversity of interest. Here also, the Indian sub-continent is shining. Those members have several thresholds to take, including an unfamiliar script, calligraphy and dies that are larger than flans, but we have several world level collectors among our members as well as some noted scientists.

The latter attract scientists who specialise in other fields and occasional archeologists. What we do to attract them is to offer a receptive and sympathetic environment, largely online, while minimising demands on their time.

Geographically, we are doing well, but mostly thanks again to Indians living is diaspora, in particular in the US and the UK. We have members from Egypt, the Maghreb and South Africa, but few in-between. Unsurprisingly, China is poorly represented, as its government demands a political correctness that goes against our culture of openness and honesty. Japan also fares badly. My guess is that many Japanese are uncomfortable with their own knowledge of English. South-East Asia does fairly well, though members from the area often remain passive. South Asia is over-represented and contributing greatly. I would dearly like members from Central Asia. West Asia is doing OK, but largely passive with one giant exception, a pillar of the site: Maythem. North America is slightly over-represented and practically all white and male. South America is satisfactory, but often passive. Europe, in particular the UK, is over-represented and quite diverse, not only because of the Indians, but also because of participation from just about every country, including small and very small states, except perhaps Iceland.

By religion and culture, I think we are doing just fine. What's more, there is definitely a relaxed atmosphere of tolerance and interest in other religions and cultures.

By gender, we are woefully short of women collectors. Once again India shines, but Indian women tend to stay active for a short while only. I know of one woman from the US, who is active off and on. What we do is offer a safe and respectful environment for them. Can we do more? I don't know, I am open to suggestions, but note that gender roles tend to be strong in hobbies.

By age, seniors are over-represented. Here also, the role of retirees versus those who work seems to play an important role. Among the scientists also, many are retired.

In conclusion, not enough members who are not white male oldies (and they remain welcome), but what to do about it? I note that at least the monthly events attract a more diverse crowd. I hoped offering the site in other languages would help (see the button "Select languages" on top of every page), in particular for those speaking French and Spanish (European Spanish, Portuguese and Russian speakers do pretty well as it is), but have yet to note a difference.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Jonathan Ouellet

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Re: Numismatics and Social Media
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2021, 10:50:05 PM »
I agree on your points about language access and I think things like this forum will help alot.
I have also noted the amount of international participation in conferences I have attended over the past year.