Friday, May 28, 2010

Merry go round

Every last friday of the month, I jump on the 'Merry go round'. What is the Merry go round exactly? Each month, a group of craftswomen from around the world join together and give their reponses to the same question/challenge.This months question is a tough one I think...
What do you do to network? In what ways does it work or not work?

When I first started out on Etsy in 2007, I had NO idea about networking. As I tried to be 'present' at the world wide web, I joined every possible network I came across that could be of any interest to me. I ended up starting a blog, setting up a Dawanda shop, getting a Flickr account, joined the European Streetteam, trying to get used to Facebook, signing in at 'we love Etsy' and Indie-public, opened accounts at Deviantart and Ravelry, got myself a Twitter account and started a newsletter. As soon as I did all that, I thought I was set and I could properly start networking. But quickly I realised that because of all the networking, I didn't have time anymore to create.
Hmm... all that effort to then contemplate what network I could close?
So here's what is left from the list and why I love it:
  • Blog
    I love blogging as it gives me the opportunity to connect with awesome people worldwide. I find the blogging community one of the most generous and inspirational ways of networking. My blog is a way for me to share my work and processes and I higly value all the feedback I get
    . I think that the peeps who read and comment on my blog, are the most amazing all around! They make me grow and glow.
  • Flickr
    When I first started out on Flickr, I had NO clue what it was about. I didn't understand why someone added me as a contact so I frantically checked 'em out as if it were my enemy. Just because I didn't have a clue. After a while I got the hang of Flickr and now it is among my very favorite sites. I go there every day but because my contact list has grown so much, I can't check out all the uploads. Flickr is highly addictive. I love images and I can just spend hours browsing streams, favorites, search for the most ridiculous word ever and get inspired out of the blue. I love it and it also made my network much larger. I'm so glad I've 'met' so many cool, inspirational peeps there.
  • Twitter
    With over 7000 Tweets, I think I can be counted among the addicts there too.
    Twitter is a place that I visit every day and that really has a large impact on how my work is spread over the web. I love the short message style kind of thing. I dread reading long blogposts, like this one I'm writing now, so if you're still reading: you have a great attention span. :) For me, Twitter is the perfect way to keep up to date with my network in a really fast way.
  • Newsletter
    For over a bit more then a year, I wrote weekly newsletters in diary style. I talked about what I did the past week and added links to tutorials or wip's in my blog or Flickr. I used Google groups to send out these weekly newsletters. I could only see how many people subscribed but not how many people actually read the newsletter.
    Recently I switched to monthly newsletters and use more or less the same content style but I started using Mailchimp. It allows me to get more detailed stats about the use of my newsletter. It actually tells you how many times a link has been clicked, the percentage that opened the newsletter, where they come from,... I'm a sucker for stats so this is fabulous. :)
    Can't really say a lot about Mailchimp yet since I only send out one newsletter but so far it looks absolutely great. You can subscribe to my newsletter here.
  • European Streetteam
    I think this was the first thing I did to network and it has been the best deccission ever. A streetteam is just an amazing group of like minded people that are supportive and fun to be around. I have a lot to thank for to the team as all the individuals in the team are gems, one by one!
And I regularly check in on my DeviantArt & Ravelry account but I don't spend much time there. I suppose you just can't do it all...

So, I narrowed it down quite a bit from where I started but I think that I stuck to the networks that worked best for me. It's something personal and what works for me, might not work for you. You can compare it with chocolate: some prefer really dark chocolate, other's go for the milk chocolate and then you have a lot of white chocolate lovers. You have to try it to see what you like best... I'm still undeccisive on what chocolate I like best so I have to keep on trying I suppose... :)

Want to know how the other merriers look upon this networking question? Hop over to their blogs. Please bear in mind that the members will be posting at different times of the day, depending on which world time-zone they are in :)

Alison at Tweed thoughts
Kim at Vilt a la Kim

Sara at Saras Texture Crafts

Fabienne at Easterya Jewellery

Mariana at Florcita

Agathe at Le Bar du Vent

Lily at Lily Pang Art and Design

Ruth at Birdland Creations