Where is the new generation of knife collectors?

In the circle of leaders in the knife collecting industry, a question keeps resurfacing- “Where are the young folks we can interest in collecting? It seems they are absent from the shows and the collecting clubs and associations. Where are the teenagers and kids in their early to mid-twenties?”

Attend any show and you will easily see, the average age is probably 42- 47. The traditional knife collector- the individual commonly associated with this hobby is aging. So, what does this mean? When the old guards whittle their last piece of cedar does that mean the hobby is going to cease as a pastime? We know folks don’t meet any longer at the town square on a Saturday morning to chew the fat and trade knives with each other.

So, the question continues to linger…”Where are the young folks? Are they so into online gaming and social networking sites to have any interest in all things that go cut?”

I found them… I really did

Well, you know me…I am a curious old soul. I like to ask questions/research. Pretend to be both a historian and computer geek…go figure. I like to observe and identify trends and patterns.

So, guess what I found the other night while deep in the bowels of the world wide web. I FOUND THE YOUNG PEOPLE. And do you know what? They ARE knife collectors, but a characteristic of that generation is they aren’t traditionalist. They are actually a bit of a rebel…and have an independent free-thinking spirit.

But find them I did and you can too. I’ll show you. But, I don’t think we can expect them to just show up at the next show because, for the most part, they don’t even know we exist.

You say, “Enough already, Scott, where are they?” Ok, I’ll tell you but don’t expect to hop on a plane and “go find them.” They are not congregated geographically, yet they have come together, albeit independently and they are unknowingly collaborating together there. If you want to find them you must be willing to be transported to their space and that space is YouTube.

Yes, that is right. They have assembled “there” and we thought they didn’t exist, but they do. Here is evidence of that fact. First let me warn you- what you are about to see, while it isn’t rated R or anything like that, but it is very amateurish. It is a kid who has a knife collection and self-filmed it. Actually, this kid created a rough 4 part series showing the world his knife collection.

Furthermore, when you do a search in YouTube on the word “knife” over 94,000 videos have been loaded and clearly the majority are by this “missing” generation. Additionally, do a search on “knife collection” and you will find 784 videos specifically labeled as such. You say, “Come on Scott, anyone could have uploaded those videos.” Yes, that is true, but I haven’t loaded up anything about my collection. Have you? These videos are by this generation, sure there will be a radom video by some adult, but clearly the majority are by the demographic we are looking for- The next generation.

The Facts-

Here is the data- An analysis provide by comScore Networks of category and site visitation builds a profile of YouTube.com visitors.

* During November of 2007, 138 million people, or about three-quarters of Internet users in the United States, watched on average 3 hours and 15 minutes of online video, or 45 minutes more than they watched in January.

* YouTube.com visitors exhibit a wide array of interests online. Their web visitation suggests that they like to engage in various forms of media and entertainment, including music, gaming, humor, photos, blogging and, of course, video.

* Visitors to YouTube.com are more likely to be male (57 percent) and they are also significantly more likely than the average Internet user to be under 25 years old. Specifically, YouTube.com visitors are 54 percent more likely than average to be between the ages of 12 and 17, and 25 percent more likely to be between the ages of 18 and 24.

Wrapping up. The Good News-

The good news fellow collectors is this missing generation has been found. They are into knives and many consider themselves to have a “collection.”  They may not look like us or talk like us, but they like knives, just like us. Granted their knives may be tactical or even home made, instead of antique elephant toenails, but knives they are nonetheless (…I didn’t start off in antique pocketknives either.)

The challenge is going to be reaching them. They resist organized…anything, for the most part. They may not come ’round for some time, but rest assured they are out there. But when they do come ’round the first time, just remember- they won’t walk in the door wearing a “Case” hat and looking like you or me- though they will be recognizable. And if we want to interest them in what we have to offer, we will need to change some of our ways to appeal to them.

Maybe you can record a rough amateur video and upload it about some of your collection- just don’t include your photo or talk about tang stamps and Mint condition knives (the typical knife collector jargon) and maybe, just maybe, you can win a few over…and then a few more…

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Published in: on September 11, 2008 at 9:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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