Thursday, March 22, 2012

Online Communities and What I Have Learned









Being online, whether blogging, or facebook, etsy or pinterest, has opened up a whole new world to me.  I have made new friends, I have been able to promote my shops, I have found support, encouragement and advice, and have found some artists that I really admire, not only as artists, but as plain old wonderful folks.

One of the places I have found some very close friends is facebook, through groups.  There is one particular group, that is kinda small, which I love, because I feel like I really know those gals.  Its all beady ladies, one way or the other, and it’s a private group, so its always a party.  It shall remain nameless too, because I am selfish that way. (wink wink)
Here are some beady friends I got to meet in person- friends I first met online

Anyhow, I have learned a lot since I began my online journey.  I'd like to share a few of them.

1.        What I do is no secret.  So why not share what I know.  

I have learned almost everything I know because someone took the time to share a tip, or technique with me.   Who am I to not pay it forward?   I am forever thankful to everyone who has ever helped me to get to where I am today.  Whether it be splitting early bead orders with me, teaching me to solder or tips and tricks in business, I am soooo very thankful.  You all know who you are!  (gosh- each and everyone of you has probably helped me in some way or another)

2.       Put yourself out there.  The good will outweigh the bad.

Yes, I know putting your work online (like on etsy, flickr or facebook) puts you at risk for copying.  It may very well happen.  You can deal with it if it does.  People may try to make what you do, but may only do it once or twice while they try to find who they are as a designer or master a technique.  Yet there are those dreaded people who try to imitate what you make and undersell you, but they are NOT the majority.  Overall, the good that comes from sharing your work and pictures online outweighs the bad.  So don’t hold back out of FEAR.  Be confident in who you are as an artist, and do your thing.

3.       Do not compare yourself to others.

Oh my word.  This is one I struggle with.  Whether I am seeing a design I wish I had thought of first, or know of someone selling more then me, my first instinct is to compare and wonder what I am doing wrong.  DO NOT DO THIS.  I have learned to just say no to comparing.  Concentrate on my work, my goals, my direction, or I will be pulled all over the place, doing this and that and the other thing trying to keep up.

4.       Take care of your friends.  Be encouraging.  If there’s something of theirs you love, share it with the world.

This has been one of the most amazing things I have learned.  There is such a great community out there willing to give a shout out to other artists, a link, a facebook post, its just amazing.  So, be nice to your friends, the artists you admire, give them some “press” and share the love.  Encourage them, celebrate with them.  The relationships I have made with my like minded beady friends are like none anywhere else.  I value them, and hope I take care of them as much as they take care of me.

These are just a few of the things I have learned along the way.  I am sooo very thankful for the amazing people who are always there for me, behind the scenes.

What have you learned from your online adventures? 

17 comments:

My Life Under the Bus said...

Great article Staci and so so true! I have learned more on Facebook then 4 years of college lol - and always when your deserate for information or someone to lift you up - someone comes to the rescue. It has been an amazing gift for me as well! XOXO

Izzy said...

Great post Staci!

Louise said...

Way to go Staci. You tell it like it is and I admire you for that. You have always been honest to me and I feel privileged to 'know' you :)

Artisan Beads Plus said...

I could not agree more Staci. I was just telling a young person I know who is thinking of selling online how important online relationships are. She ate up everything I said. As for those who copy and undersell, it is frustrating, but it is one of those things that you cannot control. It just "is what it is". I loved this post and I hope it encourages others who have not ventured out to do so. :o)
MaryAnn

mairedodd said...

i agree completely... i can honestly say that my craftsmanship improved exponentially once i began blogger/flickr/etsy ... the world was a bigger place instantly... i am always moved by and grateful for the connections that can form over the miles -

Lesley said...

Your advice is worth it's weight in gold Staci, or whatever ones preferred metal is! You know I agree whole heartedly with everything you've said and I'm proud to have you amongst my online friends who gives freely of their knowledge, time and support not to mention heaps of humour and fun. And if those bad things do happen, well your online friends will understand and see you through to better times.

kristibasket said...

What a nice blog today and so glad I have gotten to know you too and possess one of your beautiful heart charms! :) You advice is right on!!

Jennifer said...

Well said, woman! I heartily agree. You have to put yourself out there personally and professionally to reap the benefits. Otherwise we would be toiling alone, no feedback, no rewards. Thats not how I want to live...

TesoriTrovati said...

Such a great post, Miss Staci! I have learned that I am not alone. There are other bead-weirdos in the world just like me! I have come to find some of my best friends through this online community. I am truly humbled that I have formed these relationships. I have learned that I have to keep at it to keep the relationships going, but I also know that we can all pick up where we left off so seamlessly. It is better than I ever imagined it would be to be a part of this larger than me movement online. I am so honored to be friends with you, too!
Enjoy the day.
Erin

Rising Designs said...

You are a generous and honest person. The makings of a true teacher require these traits.

Somebody famous once said:
"Before we are artists, we are amateurs."
Do you agree my friends?
And we can use all the help we can get! Thank God for people like Staci-they are the teachers.

stacilouise said...

Seriously, you guys have me tearing up. See? This is what I am talking about, great people. I would have never been able to meet with you all if it weren't for the internet. Who knew it would be so life changing? You guys are awesome.

pliccb said...

Such a nice article! I completely agree with everything you said.
Carol Bartraw

Stacie Florer said...

Fantastic post, Staci...I don't know what I would have done without my online friends over the years, many of whom are my real life friends too...I agree about copying...you can't get all bent out of shape about it, just continue with your own evolution and keep your eyes on the horizon...

Kelli said...

Great post Staci!! I agree! My "charming weekend" didn't include online beady buddies, but my art show buddies. Either way it was an incredible experience. I think we all learned something that weekend!!! And the copying is not just online.... it happens at shows. I was once bitten, badly. An experienced mature artist bought several of my pieces when I was just starting out, and I was just gushing and thankful that she would purchase from me... My next weekend was my first juried "art" show.... low and behold, replicas of my pieces were all there on sale... sigh.... It's disheartening.. but then again, on the other hand, it was quite the compliment. I guess it's all in how you choose to take it.

Barb Fernald said...

Really nice post, Staci. It's a great feeling to care about friends I have never met in person, and feel the same kind of support from them.
Your points are well made and important. I love the sharing of tips, tricks, and ideas that goes on in this community. Pay it forward indeed. Thank you!

Linda said...

Staci, I agree with everything you said! Being a part of an online community of beaders has not only helped be grow as a designer, it has filled my heart with wonderful people like you. I am so grateful!

Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio said...

Staci - this is such an awesome post! I love that there are so many great relationships made through our similar interests and how we can SO understand each other - through creative ups and downs, through struggles in life. I can't imagine my life without having all of you in it just about every day! You're the best!!! Thank you for your great words to guide us :)

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