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Enough already!!! Electronic vs. Print
I go out of town and I leave you alone for a week and look at the mess! <tongue planted firmly in cheek>
But really, I just today finished cleaning out my in box, and I mean cleaning out.
First of all, internet and/or electronic media is not a replacement for print media. Just as 2-way pagers didn't replace phones, or phones replace mail, or mail replace face-to-face conversations. Each has a role in augmenting communications. There are weaknesses and strengths to each tool.
Most of you that have been around a while know that I have always been a proponent of electronic tools to promote the hobby and the AKA. A large argument has been that such tools will alienate the non-connected membership base... balderdash! AKA sponsored electronic communications can exist with no negative impact, and would in fact enhance non-connected members' value.
1. Keep the paper
You don't have to take away the paper so all of the existing value remains the same. Plus, even cyber-philes, such as myself, enjoy the tactile feeling of a page between fingers.
2. Increase FEL Market
Connected members have access to both the BNL and non-AKA electronic marketplaces, such as the Killie Trader & AquaBid. Non-connected members can only sell through the print BNL. An AKA sponsored FEL service expands their market and allows their fish to gain wider distribution in the hobby (a very good thing).
Both of these vehicles have drained listings from the BNL FEL because they meet the needs of the hobbyist. They are not evil empires seeking to usurp the AKA. In fact, both founders of these services have been long, loyal promoters of the AKA and the hobby. I'd recommend that the AKA work with them and bring their services into the fold. Blending the best of the AKA value with their's
3. Increase the strength of the hobby
Putting killie information in electronic format allows the vast majority of hobbyist to have access to a wealth of information. Along this end, the AKA is in the process of digitizing JAKA. I can't wait to get the opportunity to browse through this treasure, most of which is unavailable in print today. Ol' Timers who have read each and every issue over the years may not appreciate the value this information will bring to the hobby. It can only server to strengthen the knowledge and skills of killie keepers as well as potentially increase the membership base.
4. Increase membership
It may seem contradictory, but adding all of the above services will actually increase the value of AKA membership. Care must be taken to not give away everything for free via timing the release of information and price differentiation (member vs. non-member pricing). But those should be the issues discussed, not whether or not the AKA should move to an electronic media.
But I know the AKA will move in this direction (and has already started), it's just a matter of how and when. If it's to late, then the number of members receiving the printed BNL will continue to decrease while the rest of us transact over the net.
BTW, From the highly emotional content and volume of emails on various aspect of how the AKA should be run, I would suggest that we should see more ballots submitted for the next election than we have in the past. And we should see more folks stepping up to the plate and volunteering their services.
Bill (standing tippy-toe on the soap box) Vannerson
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