Great online reef aquarium debate
One of the greatest things about the Internet is the availability of information, no matter how useless it might seem – guess ‘they’ weren’t wrong when it was coined the Information Super Highway, right? Would have helped if they made a map to go with it though…
The Great Migration
For the reefkeeping community the information we all crave has for the longest time been found in printed books. We knew that we could pick up a copy by a well-known authority in the hobby and we could trust his or her advice. While we devoured this info, we started talking about these ideas and sharing our experiences online – enter the infamous reefkeeping forums.
Death of Print
I am not saying that the online world has replaced the need for good aquarium literature – but the pace at which this hobby moves (perhaps a direct result of sharing info online?) published material easily becomes out dated in under a year. With the web becoming increasingy mobile – do we really have the need for aquarium books? Why spend money on a good-looking book only to find the latest trickle filter method is the way to do things? Perhaps I am saying that printed aquarium material is headed the way of the dinosaurs…
The Internet has definetly had an impact on all printed aspects of this hobby – why buy a reefkeeping magazine when you can research and find all the information you need online? Sites, like this one, nanoreefblog and others such as Glassbox-Design (GBD), Reefbuilders, Aquanerd, Captive Aquatics, OCRD, PracticalFishkeeping and many others all deliver news from the aquarium community as and when it happens. In addition they review products, and talk about the hobby in general while offering their readers the option to voice their opinions. But they do seem to lack in good solid well written reefkeeping literature (yes, they all have published some great posts, I’m just saying, and yes, I’m also pointing fingers at myself). Would be great to see some reefkeeping.com (rip) and Advanced Aquarist magazine style articles.
Long gone are the days when we listened to the advise of a handful of professionals and hung onto each of their printed words – hobbyists are leading the way forward with their discussions and rants on forums, all sorts of methods are being documented on blogs all over the internet, even if it is limited. All kinds of advice (some backed by years of experience, some based on hearsay) is being traded in an almost real time fashion across the world. Without the Internet I highly doubt the melding of US, Euro and Japanese reef aquaria styles would have occurred.
Less is More
I would like to see more of the respected reefers (and the not so respected pioneers) setting up their own blogs and sharing their experiences – not another site postings news, the other guys have that covered – with the world – I’m tired of scrolling through reams of useless one line posts on the forums, just to find some relevant information. Publishing articles on forums is not very user-friendly – use a blog instead please. Deliver the information once and allow people to learn instead of just giving the same recommendation 29 times a day on a silver spoon…
We have the forums, we have the blog/news sites, we even have a great community of reefers on Twitter and a few niche groups coming together on Facebook – there are even dedicated reefkeeping social media sites too. Is there too much choice? Is the overall reefing community fragmenting and returning to the ‘dark pre-Internet’ age where we all lived in small isolated villages? Is everybody trying to be ‘that person’ who creates the next Reef Central?
What is the point of this post? To be honest I’m not entirely sure, I’m just really thinking out aloud about this hobby and the online space it occupies.
What do you think of the online reefkeeping world? Please share your thoughts below, or get in touch if you’d like to add something more substantial in the form of a guest post.