Saturday, 26 May 2012

The Internet and Philately - Part 1

If you became involved in philately before the advent of the internet (and I guess that's most of us), the reinvention of our hobby is comparable to the change from gas-lamps to electricity.

The accessibility of information, the ability to view and purchase millions of stamps without leaving your home and the development of online "stamp clubs" (better known as forums), has lead to a sea-change in how we enjoy our hobby.

Forums are a subject dear to my heart. Having never been a member of a stamp club, apart from a couple of visits to a suburban club in Melbourne when I was a young teenager, I was delighted to "meet" so many like-minded people when I joined my first forum in 2007.

Like most things in life, I spread myself thinly for a while, and joined more online communities than my time could deal with, meaning I became overwhelmed with information that actually stopped me from my collecting!

The forum is a microcosm of society. Some members are nice, some are blunt, some are helpful, some are not and some are just plain rude and dismissive of "newbies". The role of the Administrator and the Moderators is to maintain a balance so everyone gets their say. Some forums fail badly with this, leading to disharmony and conflict.

I'm now a member of three general forums, although I frequent one more than the others. Here follows a shameless plug for the forums that I deem worthy of my online (non-shopping) time!

The Grumpy Old Men's Club - The GOMC started in a stamp shop in Melbourne run by Ron Collumbine (now sadly in the stamp room in the sky). However, this forum is not just for Grumpy Old Men! It's very calmly moderated, a very pleasant place to be, and well worth your time for a visit

Stamp Bears - Started in 2011, and celebrating it's first birthday, this is another superbly moderated forum, with a diverse membership and extremely informative

Stamp Community - This is the largest of the three, based in the USA but with a global audience

If you haven't dipped your toe in the waters of online communities, I can suggest no better place to start than an online stamp club!


  1. Good post. I had seen references to GOMC by other stamp board members, but never realized they had their own forum. I'll check it out.

    Tedski (youpiao, on StampBears and BidStart forums)

  2. Please do check it out. It's not the liveliest board on the planet, but well worth visiting.

    (Checked out your blog, very nice and very informative, and followed!)

  3. Good luck with your blog - I enjoyed poking around.

    Thanks for the Grumpy Old Men and Stampbears link -I'm definitely a grumpy old bear, so right up my alley. ;-)

    I spent most of my "free" time at SCF, but these other forums look interesting.

    jkjblue (SCF)

  4. Hi Jim, thanks for your comments. I enjoyed your blog as well, a very interesting concept, well displayed