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Following Up: How We Share Online

Wow.  Thanks for quite a lively discussion last week everyone.  I thoroughly enjoyed following the discussion in the comments, and I got the feeling that many of you enjoyed it as well.

My take home was that most of us are blog people through and through.  Even if we don’t have time to actually blog ourselves, we enjoy reading and keeping up with others through their blogs.  Blogs give us a visual and textual story in a way that many of the other outlets just can’t capture.  And, for me, I have to say I’m very thankful for blog readers since they allow me to easily keep up with way more blogs than should really be possible.  But, perhaps one thing I wish they did better was allow me to comment more easily.  Imagine if logging into your blog reader meant you were automatically logged into a communal commenting platform that would make commenting from your device of choice as easy as sending a tweet?  Is there something like that out there already that I just don’t know about?!  I know reading blogs through my blog reader on my phone is one of the biggest reasons my level of commenting has dropped (and, in turn, one of the biggest reasons I’ve tried to turn to Twitter and now Instagram to let people know I’m still excited about being a part of this community).  Anyway, regardless, the point is that most of us agree that blogs are awesome.

As for Twitter and Instagram, it seems that some use them, some don’t.  And, importantly, those that use them, enjoy them, and those that don’t use them, don’t miss them.  But, the most important take home from the discussion – to me at least! – was learning all the different uses for hashtags on these sites.  Had I realized hashtags had their own wiki page, I could have saved everyone the trouble.  But, then again, I just loved reading all of your interpretations.  There is the official use, such as tagging a tweet with #FabricChat to have it connected with the Friday Fabric Chats.  There is the post summary use, such as tagging a post about a late night sewing mishap with #shouldhavegonetobed.  There is the overuse, such as tagging every other word in a post with a hashtag so that the post becomes very easily searchable and findable.  And, of course, as with all of this social media stuff, there are likely many, many more unofficial official uses for hashtags, but I think I’ll stick with these three for now!

Also, most of us wish that there was only one social sewing site that everyone used to share and connect.  I learned that there’s actually been a hearty discussion about just such a thing earlier this year over on Amy Glassenberg’s site While She Naps.  And, from the discussion over there I learned about another social sewing site – Threadbias.   Anyone active over there?  I just signed up as ahearta.  Also, since one of my big questions had been how to connect with others through Pattern Review, I wanted to link to today’s post from Sunni of A Fashionable Stitch on searching Pattern Review for information on specific patterns.  I still don’t know how you use the site to connect with others, but maybe after you get in the habit of using the site, you start to notice people who’s reviews you trust and who’s choices in patterns seem to match yours?

Finally, my last major take home was that we all really value our time and want to make sure we’re striking the right balance between our offline and online lives.  Feeling pressure to be a part of too many sites is just no fun.  Many suggested they’d welcome an app that would sync their posts between all of the different social media sites.  Though I do know how to push my blog posts to Twitter when they’re published, I don’t know of an easy way to link to many of the other social media sites, particularly the sewing focused ones.  Until there is such an app, hopefully we can all find the balance that’s right for us that keeps us feeling connected.

Anyway, thank you all again for the lively discussion!  Now back to our regular programming…

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13 thoughts on “Following Up: How We Share Online

  1. You bring up such a great point here and in your last post. I just don’t have time to keep up with everything and so I have to be really choosey about what social media sites I’m apart of. I do love Pattern Review, but the site needs a serious makeover. There are so many people connected on that site already that I think a makeover and improvement would be wonderful. I hadn’t heard of Threadbias, but I’m going to check it out. If its fabulous, like ravelry, then I’m all for it and for promoting it too. I don’t have a twitter or instagram account and don’t miss them, but I do know that many use those platforms.

    1. Yeah, thanks for your tips today on how to search through Pattern Review. I’ve dabbled over there – signed up for emails, reviewed a few patterns, entered a few contests – but I’ve never taken the time to really become an active member. The comments that I saw on your post earlier today really got me motivated to make better use of the wealth of knowledge over there!

  2. Amy, after reading all of the responses on your last post and thinking about it a little, I really think some of this is generational. I use my cellphone to make calls and send a text and nothing else. I don’t have an iPhone because I own an iPad. However, my social sewing occurs on my iPad which I have to make a conscious effort to use. While my daughter. No longer even uses a watch, she uses her phone for everything, as well as, to tell time. Personally, I wouldn’t use a forum moderated by Colette and I think that’s why there are so many sewing boards. People find one that they can navigate, get comfortable with and use regularly. All of the newer boards haven’t figured out a way to merge the older and newer sewist so that everyone feels comfortable until someone figures that out there will always be a multitude of sites. One last thing, I’m hesitant to try new boards after the poor reception that more experienced sewists first received at BurdaStyle. I don’t want to dampen a new sewist’s enthusiasm so I tend to stay away from those boards because it is amazing how quickly an offer of help or explaining the better way to do something can be attacked on one of those forums. Until the sewing community finds a way to reconcile that fact, IMHO there will be a dozen sites that cater to various sewists…but is that a bad thing?

    1. I think you’re right, Carolyn. As someone who falls into the newer sewist category, it’s harder for me to see the online sewing world from the eyes of someone with more experience. I had no idea some sites might push more experienced sewists away. What a shame! I would like to think I would welcome any sage advice that comes my way – whether it be about sewing or blogging or whatever. I remember one comment that really made an impact on me that had to do with how I was blogging at the time. It was hard to hear that I was doing something “wrong”, but if someone hadn’t stepped up and said something, I would have likely carried on without being the wiser and potentially gotten myself into trouble. Anyway, one of the reasons I enjoy dipping my head into the Stitcher’s Guild is that I’ve found that community to be just oozing with experience while still having a community feel to it. That said, I’m quieter over there though because I’m a bit wary of what I have to add. I hadn’t taken the time to wonder about generational or experiential gaps in those who participate in the shinier sites. I guess it’s nice to think that there are different communities for different sewists, giving everyone their place to feel at home. But, at the same time, I hope that any newer sewist with the desire to learn from others – like me! – will find ways to use communities to connect with those with more experience, despite technology differences or a few negative voices. Also, it’s inspirational to know that you use your iPad for all of your social sewing. I feel bratty for suggesting that other people should invent things to make life easier for me because I want to use my phone for everything and just can’t bother with typing on the screen!

  3. On my iPad so I have to be brief, too much autocorrect. you wrote: Though I do know how to push my blog posts to Twitter when they’re published, … Please tell me how! Thanks!

  4. yes to a universal commenting function that works through a reader! please please please!!! and death to those captcha. it kills me when i have to decipher one of those on my phone, it often keeps me from commenting at all.
    i also really enjoyed the discussion, it was really interesting to hear everybodys thoughts on the subject!

    1. Glad to hear that you agree about a blog reader commenting function being useful. And, I find that I end up mostly guessing at the Captcha words, even on my computer. It’s not quite random chance, but close!

  5. very interesting follow up. I always check out new sites and you mentioned Threadbias. So I clicked over and could not see anything without creating a profile. I really don’t like sites like that on principal – if they believe in their site they should let potential users check them out before registering. So I clicked away…still curious, What do they have that differs from the other sites?

    1. I hadn’t even thought about checking out the site before making a profile! Hahaha! And, unfortunately, I haven’t taken the time to truly check out the site, so I can’t really tell you much about it. It seems to have a main project page, which is currently filled with a lot of quilts; a pattern page, which allows you to set up a pattern shop if you’d like; a fabric page, which is organized by fabric manufacturer and seems to be focused around quilting cottons; a groups page and a forum page with groups and forums as you’d expect; and a quilt design tool that costs $10 after a free trial. I don’t think it’s designed to be all about quilting, but it does appear to be dominated by quilters right now!

  6. Thanks for the follow up – and the link to ‘Threadbias’. I have signed up under ‘twotoast’. It is very much like Ravelry (http://www.ravelry.com/) which I love for my knitting (I am there as ‘twotoast’ as well). I really want to like Pattern Review, but I find the set up and navigation to be awkward to use and I find it more frustrating than enjoyable. (just check out Ravelry to see what I mean).

  7. Thanks for these lovely and thoughtful posts, Amy. I have a discussion with myself about this very subject every couple of months, and make conscious choices so that my online discussions and life don’t take over my time or my definitely more intimate connections to my real life community. So for now, no Twitter or Instagram, nor time to repost my photos to Burdastyle, etc. (I do feed my posts into a Facebook page–it seems like some people use FB as a reader.)

    I think it’s wonderful that sewing culture (along with a general culture of handmadeness) is growing so much, and it makes sense this would reach a sort of critical max in online groups and splinter in various communities, specialized indie pattern companies, or forms of communication. It won’t be possible to keep up with it all, or stay connected to all of them. (Or try all the cool new pattern companies!) To me, that’s sort of like feeling like I need to be a member of every church in town in order to be connected to the church at large. Some will be younger or shiny new expressions, and others more rooted in ancient traditions. Perhaps I will connect lightly to a couple of them, but my main community will probably lie in one.

    On a practical note, I tried to use Pattern Review years ago (my only review is, of course, my first bra!). I remember when PR first started. It was only one of two sewing discussion boards at the time, and I think many folks who are connected through it have been using it for a long time. Some of the first sewing bloggers came out of those discussion boards. With now over 300,000 users (?), it seems harder to use it to connect to others–I view it less as a community/social media site and more as a general all-purpose sewing store (with desperate need of a graphic designer and user experience professional, not just a platform engineer, but I digress!). It’s good for research–I found my sewing machine by diligently reading reviews there!

    And thinking about Carolyn’s response, I’m with her on the generational differences. I try to read a mix of blogs by younger sewists and older, more experienced ones because I really think they need to mix more. (Maybe because I feel a bit in between!) On the one hand I love very visual interfaces with a high emphasis on graphic design and ease of communication, but the more social sites/spaces are often just about sharing visually, sharing enthusiasm, and less about deeper learning experiences. Perhaps those things happen better on a learning platform like Craftsy or a discussion board either at PR or Stitcher’s Guild. But I still love the community that happens through blogs, learn the most from them, and enjoy being able to leave ridiculously long comments like this one. This is probably my longest blog comment ever–thanks for inspiring that! Haha ;).

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