How many people have time to catch up in the hundreds of forums and social sites out there? It’s bad enough that facebook and myspace take over your life when you sign up, but add flickr and twitter to the mix with blogging and you have a monster. If you’re a crafter and/or run a business, it gets worse. You’re expected to have an Etsy site – and now it’s knockoff Artfire. You have to blog, tweet, and post bulletins. You have to promote on craft forums. You have to promote on forums in your niche (for me, it’s pin-up lifestyle and punky moms). When does the madness end?
To be successful, you need to be everywhere at once – both on the web and off. This can quickly burn someone out. I do craft shows in between raising a family and sewing til my fingers bleed. There’s simply no time for social networking. When I even try, I get so bombarded that my face gets glued to the computer for days. I tried having my husband take some of the burden off, but he’s not much in the way of forums and chatting people up about my products online.
The biggest offender: Ning – where you can create your own social network for anything. For someone like me, who’s into everything and nothing, I feel like I need to join all the networks. No good! I’ll elgg my own, thank you very much.
So, that’s my solution. I’ll have my own shop – no etsy or artfire). I’ll have my own community (no myspace or facebook – though I already have the sites and I’m not going to go closing the accounts). I’ll keep twitter because it’s cool. I’ll keep blogging and reading blogs. I’ll have conversations via email instead of forums. If I need to find a cool tutorial I check Sew, Mama, Sew and Purl Bee before googling.
People will come to you if you’re in a good niche and have great things to offer. People will come to you if you’re SEO. People will come to you if you hand out flyers and business cards whereever you are. If you build it, they will com.
As for Crafty Nation, they built it, and people come. I, however, won’t. I don’t like the site layout and a lot of the projects are junk or can be find elsewhere. The bad part of these social networks is that there’s no filter. Anyone can join and anyone can post what they make. If it’s junk is a matter of opinion, but mine stands. I won’t make a thing posted. I prefer the filters of certain like minded bloggers that only post quality designs and tutorials.
I do like that they have an events page, but I also don’t like the layout and prefer something a little more directed towards my crowd: Indie Craft Fair Guide.
If it’s your thing, cool. It’s not mine.