So the article focused mainly on magazines and other print publications that are closing due to industry shrinkage. It got me thinking on the big changes I've seen online in our quilty world over the past year and a half.
|Colorbrick, my first quilt circa 2010. Tutorial here.|
You see, I've been an avid blog reader since I first ran across Film in the Fridge and Red Pepper Quilts in 2009. Blogs taught me how to quilt, gave rise to real friendships and eventually led to a day job that's been a huge blessing in my life. Through Google Reader and then through Bloglovin, I kept up with lots of fabulous blogs, lots, on practically a daily basis.
In 2015 I probably cozied up to my blog reader about once a month, twice if I was lucky. It was a given that I couldn't keep current on all those posts, so I didn't try. Just total survival mode, baby. Then in 2016 I found myself suddenly back at the computer. With time. Being "off" for almost a complete year emphasized the differences between then and now. So, here's what I see:
(1) There are plenty of professional blogs still churning out wonderful content on a regular basis. They're making beautiful quilts and sharing some of the process, but it's not quite the same. Quilt Alongs are getting few and far between (and do you remember when there were so, soooo many you could hardly choose where to start?). Plus, there's not as much going on in the comment fields.
|my first Scrappy Quilt-Along, circa 2011|
(2) There are far fewer hobbyist bloggers, quilters who blog simply for pleasure in order to log what they've made or be in contact with fellow makers. The reduction in hobbyist bloggers likely explains quieter comment fields and fewer events. Certainly, people are still reading blogs, but they aren't trying to have a conversation here.
(3) And the conversation has obviously gone....to Instagram. But you knew that. Lots of folks find it easier to contribute (i.e. to share what they make) via the Instagram platform: few words, one picture, super convenient. Instagram has proved itself a wonderful place for makers to take in inspiration and give back to the community via brief comments and snapshots of their own creations.
Whenever a new social platform takes over (and it's happened again and again) there's always push back. The new thing isn't for everyone, and that's okay. I was a slow adopter of Instagram because I enjoyed Flickr and took my time plunking down the money for a smart phone. But, now that I'm there, I get it and I've resigned myself to letting go of Flickr to be where the people are. It's about community, after all, so you can only resists change for so long before missing your friends!
But, wait, what about blogs. Are they also passe? Trumped by Instagram? Nothing left to offer? I think not.
Although most hobbyist makers choose Instagram over blogs to document their art, they still enjoy reading blogs... at least certain kinds of blogs. From what I hear, it's the blogs that tell a good story that still warrant a read. And don't forget all those Pinterest pins that are pointing, in most cases, to tutorials hosted on blogs. Blogs still offer key advantages to explaining the details of an event/contest and allow for a depth of conversation that isn't possible in short IG bursts.
|screen shot from my Tutorials page|
I am not a woman of few words, so blogs are for me. I'm also keen to keep producing free tutorials and self-hosted classes on blogger platforms. I hope that as fabric store owners ride these market shifts they don't discard the value of blogs and thus cut out the sponsorships that support many professional blogs like Stitched in Color. I'm glad to say, at least, that my pageviews have not gone down despite the market shifts and my Bloglovin reader count continues to climb. But even still, I've lost sponsors lately due to perceived decreased value of blog advertising. Which is frustrating.
So why do I bring this up here, publicly on my blog?
First, I want to know what you think. How do you see the changes to our community in the past years? If you've adopted Instagram, do you still read blogs or use blog tutorials? Is there value here, and is it where I think it is, or is there something else about blogs that matters to you?
Second, I want you to understand why some of my events may migrate to Instagram. That's simply a place lots of people have made home. Community can't be forced. It has to happen where people feel comfortable, where they want to be. If you haven't tried Instagram yet, I hope you'll give it a try to see if you too would be comfortable there if only on the occasion.
You can find me on Instagram at StitchedinColor. Maybe I'll see you and your makes over there? Meanwhile, I'll still be publishing regular blog posts in my comfy home at StitchedinColor.com. Thank you for reading. And thank you for sharing your thoughts!