follow that rabbit hole
on subreddits and the beauty of enthusiasts
One of the first things I do when I'm interested in something is look up its corresponding subreddit. I've discovered many of my 'hobbies' this way (if you can call them that), like fountain pens, backpacks, and recently, flashlights.
While spending all day yesterday reading about flashlights, r/flashlight amazed me with the sheer amount of information people have voluntarily compiled online to help others. Just look at this de facto beginner's guide to flashlights.
Another thing that strikes me is the sheer level of complexity that lies in what might seem like simple everyday objects. Who knew that there are throw and flood/spill flashlights, those with high and low lumens, and ones with different tints and color temperatures? And that's not even mentioning the types of batteries or the different software programs they can ship with. There's almost infinite variation within a single household tool.
I can hardly believe that a simple search on Reddit yields tons of flashlights many orders of magnitude better than the ones you can pick up at your local brick and mortar stores (I'm thinking Walmart, Home Depot, and REI) for a fraction of the price. How are those other companies even staying in business? It's mind-boggling to me, but also gives me hope when I see small groups of enthusiasts like this making the world a better place. (Haven't we all had a shitty, dim, incandescent flashlight at one point or another? Wouldn't it be great to have a bright beam you can depend on for a fraction of the price?)
Flashlight fans on subreddits like this don't care about marketing. They scrutinize every little detail of flashlights, and make posts and videos online comparing them to one another and ranking them based on factors like price, beam, durability, design, battery life, and more. Not only does this make getting the best flashlight easy, but it also rewards small businesses making the best products instead of big corporations selling shitty flashlights on Walmart's shelves.
At this point I've gotten rid of every social media account I have, but Reddit stays for subreddits like these. (Though I'm aware you don't need an account to peruse its subreddits.) It might eat up hours of my time, but no other site has given me so much knowledge (and pleasure!) about random things I'll never need.