Fiber Arts and Social Media (by Jenifer Rank)

As a knitter or crocheter, when your hands are supposed to be occupied with needles, hooks, and yarn, what on earth can social media portals like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and others do for you?

I joined Twitter last year after swearing I would never, ever participate in something as silly as that service.  Bear in mind, I also said the same thing about Facebook.  There are several reasons that these types of services can be of great help to artisans.

First, say you are working on a pattern and you get stuck, don’t know what an abbreviation is, or are having a problem selecting a pattern.  Head over to your “Tweeps” and ask!  This is a great resource for finding new patterns, getting opinions on patterns or yarn that you are considering, etc.  I found Cookie A’s Monkey socks pattern in exactly this way.

Second, as a stay at home mom, it is really nice to be able to “chat” with others when I’m sitting at home watching endless hours of kid’s movies and cartoons as I’m working on my various projects.  It’s even nicer when these relationships that are developed online transition into the real world.  I’ve met several of my knitty tweeps in real life for knit time at local yarn shops, and they are just as delightful in person!

Third, if you are a seller on Etsy, Artfire, or simply in craft shows, social media is a great way to promote your items and what you are doing!  Pattern notifications, both for sale and that are listed for free… those postings run rampant on Twitter.  Special sales, discounts, and promotions are consistently listed on social media.  I’ve found out about huge sales from Lantern Moon and Blue Moon Fiber Arts through these channels and have saved a ton because of it!

Finally, it can result in great opportunities both for individuals and businesses.  I have made enough connections that I will be working with a dyer and spinner in the future with her new business that she is starting up!  I’ve always been computer savvy, but was late to the social media game.  I am so excited to say that I have embraced it whole-heartedly, and I wish more crafty types would do the same!  It really is a great networking tool, and can be used as much or as little as you like.

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