Sunday, March 6, 2011

handmade...community?

I'm going to ruffle some handmade feathers with this post  and I'm giving you fair warning, so bear with me or click away. I need to vent and this is my space, so I am choosing to be real & honest today, airing out my dirty laundry for the blog world to read...rather than pretend like something bad isn't going on. 

Another note: if you aren't familiar with  the handmade world, you probably won't understand or be interested in this post...so maybe come back tomorrow? 

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First, let's define community. Webster's first definition is "a unified body of individuals." another is "an interacting population of various kinds of people in a common location."

I've seen the handmade community do beautiful & meaningful things. I've seen bloggers & handmade artists gather around adopting families, wives with deployed husbands, women with post-partum depression, women striving hard for weight loss. I've seen the handmade community come up beside people we don't know in real life to spur them on, make them laugh when they need it, raise money for an important cause, encourage them, and give them an extra boost. 

However, I've also seen the handmade community morph into something ugly, as of late. Am I the only one who sees it? Surely, I can't be. Cliques, copying, etsy vs. big cartel, GOSSIP, imitation, the "know it all" plague, passive aggressive bullying, PRIDE, fishing for compliments, manipulation, and downright narcissism. 



What are we doing, y'all??? Why are we letting this happen??

Something that was to be cherished and appreciated is turning into high school all over again...but behind a computer screen where you can be vicious and passive aggressive.  No one wants that, people. I promise. So stop.

Here's my challenge: LOVE. Don't tell people what to do. Stop telling people not to go to this market or that conference because of this person or that crafter. Be genuine. Be accepting. Be willing to help. Stop "choosing sides" and be unified again. 


Until I see unity and encouragement and *realness* again, I refuse to call it a community. From what I've seen the last few months, no one is looking out for each other...or maybe they are for their group of four e-bff's ((i gagged when i typed that term)). No one gives advice without strings attached. "tweet chats" are becoming a place to boast and brag. Sure, you get feedback and someone to tell you that you're cute or that you make pretty things every now and then...but is that what you need? Are we that desperate for attention? I think there's a deeper problem here that needs to be addressed. 

 



((side tangent involving social media. ready, begin.))
I recently became overwhelmed with twitter & social media in general...but mostly twitter. I tried to clean up my twitter feed to people I network with daily and people/businesses that inspire me. I ended up hurting people's feelings, who were very vocal about it.  Hurting people was the last thing on my mind, but I guess I should have seen it coming. The problem proceeds into the devastating fact that I have become so consumed by the facade i'm putting forth via social media. In twitter terms, let's hashtag it this way: #fake.



We are sucked into this social media thing and put our best face forward and fill a void of *real* personal interaction with tweets, retweets, twitpic, instagram, etc. It hit me when I posted a picture on instagram and no one immediately responded. I hit refresh for 60 seconds until someone said something. I'm sorry...I missed this transition...am I living my life for me & to serve my Savior??? or am I living my life for twitter and social media? It seems I have an idol in my life & I need have to take a step back to evaluate.
((rant over))

I am not pointing fingers and I am not naming names. I am part of the guilty party, too. I refuse to continue. I refuse to think I'm better than ANYONE because I am doing this handmade thing full-time. I want to kill my pride and destroy any pesky roots that remain. In fact, I just interviewed for a part time job at Anthropologie because I'm tired of being alone all day, working long hours in my studio. I'm tired of spending hours on twitter reading things that frustrate me...written by people I.DON'T.KNOW. I'm tired of interacting with people online and neglecting my husband, my family, my home, my church, my friends. Bottom line, I'm tired of the swelling pride that I have from working full-time on Oh, Sweet Joy!  and the ugliness in my heart that it causes. 

There IS a wonderful place in our lives for the handmade "network." I will not ever deny the importance of it and I will never deny the good that it can do, but hear me out.

We have to stop this. Take a deep breath, take some midol, drink some caffeine and think before you tweet. think before you accuse someone of stealing/copying/imitating. think before you passive aggressively gossip about someone that you don't know in real life & isn't there to defend themselves. 


Am I alone here? Please tell me I'm not. This post is nothing but a result of the realization of sin in my own heart. However, I'm not naive enough to think that I'm the only one struggling with it or feeling frustrated. I felt that it needed to be said. So, there. I said it. 

**If you are a Christian: do you feel that social media is an idol in your life? check out these two articles that completely changed my focus and outlook on all the time i'm spending online. total kick in the face, but a good kick in the face**



love.

80 comments:

  1. Well said, It's so extremely hard to define what is inspiring and what is blank copying... an issue I found in photography very often as well!
    xxx

    http://gypsy-diaries.blogspot.com

    P.S: I'm giving away a gorgeous house of harlow ring that I think you'd love to pieces! :D

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  2. I've had these very same thoughts on several occasions. Blogging can very quickly turn into a clique and everyone is trying to outdo everyone else. I've seen people be down right mean, and I've experienced it first hand when my husband was away. Too many bloggers are fake and yes it feels like high school sometimes.

    I'm glad you are taking a step back and realized who and what is important in your life. I think we all need to do that from time to time and realize that blogging shouldn't be our lives.

    I'm a full time stay at home mom and part time crafter. I've seen too many stay at home moms start out blogging/crafting for fun and before you know it they're neglecting their children just to keep these people they've never met happy. It's sad to see.

    Sometimes it's good to stop trying to please others and do something for yourself. I recently started a few photography challenges and I love it. It's something I can do throughout the day when I have some free time or Ariana and I are out and about.

    Great post, and it needed to be said! Hugs!!

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  3. THANK YOU for writing this. I am very new to this community and I have already seen this, alot. I'm not to say that I am not guilty in it as well, but it makes me sad to see where this "can" go.

    I joined the handmade community to further a business that I already had going, but wanted to advertise in different ways. I met a lot of wonderful Christian women as well. It can really be a cool community of encouragement and unity, we just need to change it back.

    I love John Piper and his article above. It is so true and it's sad.

    Thank you for being real and open! xo

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  4. wow, those articles, especially the second one has really hit me. I can get so caught up in my dream of being a full-time crafter like so many people I admire that I forget what it is I am supposed to be living for as a Christian. I think I'm going to stop my twitter account all together, it's done nothing good for me, nor me for the community.
    Thank you for this post

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  5. I completely agree. I am guilty of this, too. Although I don't really have a hand made store anymore, I saw this happening a lot. Fishing for comments, blogging for the sake of getting more followers, forgetting why I started blogging to begin with, and overall living my life completely unaware that I have others around me who would love to spend time with me.

    Now I blog for the sake of just because I want to. I choose to write whatever I write based on what I want to, and not what the public demands. I only check blogs when I have time rather than doing it daily. If I don't get feedback, then I live with it and go on.

    I love this post a lot. Thank you for being so open about it!

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  6. Thank you for posting this. I joined Twitter to hopefully make some handmade connections and become a part of the community you are talking about. I started noticing the cliquiness and kept wondering what I was doing wrong to not "get in" with some of the key people who seemed to have strong influences in the handmade world. This didn't last long because I am a full time mom, about to give birth to a third sweet baby. I can't spend time worrying about it! Being a good mom is my priority, but it's easy for me to really quickly check my Twitter acct or email or fb while my kids are busy playing. This can turn into checking it multiple times a day when it's really NOT necessary, at all. I really like that you said our first job is to please Jesus, not other people. He needs to be my main focus and if I feel like I need more handmade connections then I can trust Him to help me make those wherever they may be. I worry sometimes that I don't post enough or that I don't interact online enough, but really now I feel okay! I have an amazing community of friends here and I don't want to miss out on what's going on in my real world. Thank you so much Kim. I want to read the articles you posted as well. I have been really overwhelmed by social media lately and feel like a real perspective on it is so important. I am definitely going to share this post of yours with my business partner and maybe a few others. This is exactly what I needed to read this morning. Thank you again!

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  7. Great post! I am pretty new to the handmade business and I can't say that I have seen this first hand but I am aware of it. I love the two articles that you posted, they really do make you think! Thank you for posting this, everything you said was something that I really needed to hear being a 'newbie'!

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  8. You've written this with such conviction and Truth, and I really appreciate that. I think this not only applies to the handmade network, but to the blogging network as a whole. Bloggers can get a little too big for their britches sometimes, and I am constantly trying to keep myself in check. I think there is definitely some sort of hierarchy in the blogosphere, and that makes me sad. That's not what blogging is about!

    I have made some of the greatest friends through all of this, and some absolutely incredible opportunities have been placed in my lap... I KNOW God used blogging to help me get to where I am right now. And I'm thankful every single day for that, I try so hard not to take it for granted. But I have definitely seen some major viciousness, pride, and downright ugliness from this "community" lately... and it absolutely breaks my heart. I need to remember to look in the mirror and make sure I'm not following down that path, too. It's not a pretty (or fulfilling) one.

    Thanks for this, Kim. xo.

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  9. Well said! I'm not officially in the handmade community, but I follow a lot of it and do a lot of it on my own terms (I just recently showed the world some of my projects on the blog even though I've been doing them for years). Its a community that once I have the time, I would love to get involved in more often. But honestly, there are a few people that I follow that turn me off from it for this very reason. So thanks for being honest, you've given me the drive to start again!

    I'll say a prayer for all of us! Keep doing what you're doing, you're amazing!

    *kate

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  10. I think you've said it well. I'm not a big shot make-it-myself girl, but I've met a few of them. Once I did a fair with a pal of mine who knew some of the other vendors. Those gals ignored me while visiting our booth. It left a bad taste in my mouth, especially since they are a part of "my local community."
    From then on, I decided to do my own thing, and IF I meet nice people along it's cool, if not, whatever, I don't pay attention to them. :P

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  11. Really good post, Kim! I am still new to the handmade/blogging community, but I have definitely seen this in others. What's worse, is I have felt it rising up in myself...and I hate it. I read one of the articles you posted on social media, and it really resonated with me. It's so easy to get sucked in. The last couple of days I have made an effort to not be on Twitter so much. It's been good for me to step away :)
    I do love the handmade community, and I love the blogging community. I have made wonderful friends that I never would have made otherwise. But I have also seen things in myself that are horrible. Things that are not kind and loving and accepting. Things that I need to change.
    I made the decision recently to stop caring what others think (or at least to try to stop caring). I blog and sew and craft for myself. I do it as a creative outlet. I do it because I love it. I do hope to gain new friends and have a successful shop, but those things need to be secondary.
    Thank you for the reminder that we are to love each other and lift each other up. We are to be in this together. It is NOT a competition. I can see myself coming back to this post often, when I need a reminder, and a wake up call :)

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  12. I think Twitter/social media/blogging is just like anything in life: you can use it for His glory or it can turn into something sinful.

    You did an excellent job pointing out what we can do to keep it from becoming something sinful. Tweet with love. Think before you tweet.

    Being aware of our motivations on twitter/social media is helpful to. We should all be reflective about it.

    Part of the reason why things can get so ugly and so nasty is that the things we create and the things we blog about are a natural extension of ourselves - so it's easy to fall into competition or feel hurt or rejected. It's easy to get our self-esteem and self-confidence all wrapped up in how many of our tweets are retweeted (for example).

    But knowing that our self-worth comes from Him will help us focus on being LOVING and GIVING on twitter/social media.

    Great thought provoking post!

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  13. Amen, sister! Thank you so much for posting this. It was needed and a lot of people need to see it. This is exactly how I have been feeling as of late about this "community" and it's made it a lot easier to stay away from Twitter and reading blogs because of it. I'm still really new to this whole thing, having starting my Etsy shop last April and not knowing anyone while doing it. I was having so much fun just making what I liked because I liked it. Now that I've considered myself "full time", switched to Big Cartel, and have a much larger number of followers/people-i-follow on Twitter that I've begun interacting with, I feel like I've been opened up to something not as genuine, fun, or friendly. I'd say within the last 2 months is when I started seeing exactly what you are talking about and it's really put a damper on what I thought I loved to do most - create.

    I've already caught myself several times having to just step back from the computer and ignore the commotion caused in this "community". My husband has had to bring me back to reality by reminding me: you don't really know these people. You can't let this stuff start to bother you. It's so petty. Stay out of it and ignore it! haha

    I think I'm still pretty blind to a lot of stuff that is going on in this community, which is nice. When I hear a lot of people on Twitter voicing their frustration about someone or something, I usually have no idea what or who they're talking about, but it's sad that it's even being done. I agree that something needs to change before we can consider this a "handmade community."

    *On the bright side, I'm blessed to say that there are a handful of girls I have met through this "community" who I can sincerely call my friends. I don't have one crafty IRL friend to talk to or get advice from. Twitter has been a really supportive tool for those reasons. I'm blessed to say that there are readers through my blog that genuinely care about me and my family. When my husband lost his job, when I was asking for advice concerning my PUPPPS, when Josiah wouldn't eat his solid food: people were actually there to help and support me, provide advice, uplift my family in their prayers, post words of wisdom and encouraging scripture. This is exactly what our community should look like everyday. GENUINE, UPLIFTING, REAL, ENCOURAGING.

    I really hope you get that job at Anthro! If I didn't have kids, that's exactly where I would be working right now. haha Maybe someday. :)

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  14. That second article really made me think. Thanks for sharing!

    I'm not part of the handmade community but photographers can be the same way a bit as well. I don't get myself involved and am happy with where I am and where my business is at this time. It can be hard and lonely though!

    I'm praying for you!

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  15. This is such a beautiful and real post on soo many levels!! I'm glad you used this space to get it all out and to realize that you are NOT alone! I definitely feel a lot of the same things you are feeling on the social media front, with the cliques, passive aggressiveness, etc... and it's a great reminder that the reason i love twitter is b/c of the love, encouragement, support and i don't like seeing those tweets that are full of drama, i'm sure no one does!

    and i also agree about neglecting my husband, real life, etc. b/c sometimes i'm caught up in twitter conversations. oh my gosh, i can't believe i just typed that, i feel horrible for even saying that in public, but it's true. i definitely think sometimes i need to step back away from my computer, away from bow making, away from blogging, and make sure my real life, chores, cooking, etc. are not being neglected.

    thanks for this post kim and letting me share as well. xoxo

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  16. amen. i'm really glad you posted this. i have seen some major bullying lately and even if the person being bullied is at fault, it is not right. especially since, like you said, they are not even there to defend themselves.

    thank you for sharing those articles, that second one really spoke to me. i like(/hate!) the idea of really considering my intentions before posting a tweet. there is definitely a "me, me, me" attitude in blogging & twitter, which is why i was so hesitant to start either in the first place, and it is so easy to be pulled in to it when everyone else is doing it. i feel like i need someone to keep me in check. seriously don't hesitate to call me out whenever i'm falling into this or any other sin that comes from social media! right now i don't have a lot of time to spend on twitter, so i don't think i've seen the full extent of the ugliness, but i suppose that's a good thing! it does make me feel "out of the loop" and maybe excluded from the cliques ( you're so right about those) sometimes and yea, i shouldn't feel like that.

    anyway, i will be praying for the both of us, that we use social media for good!

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  17. I'm very new to the etsy handmade community. This is good advice to follow. I hope to stay true to what my business message is! Why should I make something that I don't like even if it gives me sales. I want to stay true to the things I like to make.

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  18. Right on! Your points are absolutely valid and the community needs to focus on being warm and welcoming, not catty and bitter.

    I do wonder if you're alienating customers by unfollowing them on Twitter, though? I guess it's one thing if you check your @ section often, but as an entrepreneur, I feel like it sends the wrong message to list your Twitter, Facebook, etc, and then unfollow any customers who you don't network with every day, you know?

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  19. i agree with your post on so many levels... i just wanted to say thank you for writing this. i'm all about encouraging and supporting those in the handmade community. i don't own a shop, i'm merely a blogger who loves to support the arts and crafts - but i do see where you are coming from... thank you for writing this heartfelt post. we need to be reminded once in a while why we were drawn to the community in the first place.

    xo, carla
    www.carlasdeleon.blogspot.com

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  20. You are so brave! While I am not a part of the handmade community I can attest to the fact that *those* type of people are everywhere (unfortunately)- no matter what line of work you are in. As Christians, I think we are called to glorify God in spite of them!
    I hope you find balance and peace about this situation! You are fab!

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  21. THANK YOU for all the support, wise words, encouragement. I wish I had time to respond to each of you. Y'all have such good hearts and are presenting incredible meekness and humility.

    Anonymous: I guess that's a decision thats mine to make as a business owner. I will say, that I feel like I make a really solid effort to make my customers feel appreciated...but I definitely see where you're coming from. Feel free to email me if you have any further points to make without anonymity ;)

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  22. thank you for this.
    i quit blogging a couple of months ago and have chosen to step back as well. my continual battle is that am i only putting the sugar coated parts of my life on my blog for the world to see? if so, that's not really me. the truth is that life is beautiful, and what makes it beautiful is that it's not perfect.

    i found myself spending time looking at blogs that were filled with color, handmade dream projects, and cheer. sure, these things are great, but before long, i began comparing my life to that. why doesn't my relationship look like that? why aren't my projects that perfect? why am i not that happy? --but that's not real. real is the flaws in everyday life.

    if you haven't read the book "cold tangerines" by shauna niequist, you sould ABSOLUTELY read it. it's wonderful. really. it talks about how life is found in the details, not the huge moments.

    have a blessed sunday!

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  23. I've definitely noticed some of the things you pointed out, not especially lately, but I've been trying to stay off Twitter a little bit more so that could be why. I've found that it's just easier to mind my own business, encourage others and support them, and let everything else just roll off my shoulders. There will always be mean people or those who only want to fish for compliments, etc, but I feel that's due to their own insecurities and has nothing to do with me. I hope things start to get better soon, because it makes me sad when (even people I don't know) are unhappy about things like this.

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  24. Amen! I've been feeling a lot of this lately too. I haven't liked some of the things I've been seeing. Nor have I been thrilled with some of the things I've been feeling/dealing with in my own heart. Thanks for sharing and for challenging!

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  25. Thank you. I feel the same way. :/ I've felt like a total outsider in this handmade world. It's just something I am able to do part time. But I love connecting with other creative souls. (That's one thing I've really missed since we moved last fall. I miss my creative girls & getting together for crafty nights.) I've tried to fill that void through social media, but feel more frustrated & hurt than anything. I really thought I was the only one. Thank you for sharing your heart. Also thank you for sharing those articles!!! Love me some Piper wisdom.

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  26. Thank you for your honesty and sharing your heart.
    I think many of us are feeling the same way. A friend and I discussed the other day about why we blog or interact socially and how we have to keep ourselves in check.
    I can't "keep up". I can't compete. I can only create and share what I create with love.

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  27. i totally agree. i've been noticing on twitter how i feel like the "odd" girl out... just listening to the "cool" girl's conversations... maybe i'm just following the wrong people. haha. it's get frustrating sometimes...

    also, another question (sorry to bring it up :)) i was wondering what you're thoughts were on big cartel vs etsy... i was thinking about making the switch, but i just don't know....

    xo,
    christen
    thekrumms@gmail.com
    https://christenkrumm.blogspot.com

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  28. Thanks for writing this! I haven't seen some of the "bad" of the handmade community the same as what you have, but I'm also not as fully immersed in it as you are (or I'm naive??) I do know it exists though.

    And I agree about social media becoming idols in our lives. This year for Lent I've committed to giving up my personal Facebook account and also only checking my blog stats 1x/day rather than repeatedly throughout the day. Hoping for a little perspective through Lent. :)

    Take care!
    Jill

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  29. this article was timely for me. Lately I've been sitting back to re-evaluate my motives for blogging and the "Justification by Twitter" article really brought some important questions to the table. As I question my motives and continue to blog as a hobby (and perhaps one day to benefit my own handmade business), I want to make sure that I'm not blogging to feed my pride and blogging in a way that honors God. If I can't balance both of those things, then it's not worth it to continue blogging...

    Thanks for your post!
    em

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  30. Kim, I'm so so glad you published this! I know you were a bit hesitant but you are right on so many points. Thank you for being so honest and open to sharing your heart.

    I KNOW that social media has become an idol for me. And I'm just now starting to really realize it. When you talked about refreshing the page to see if anyone responded to your tweet-- that's totally me. Where am I finding my worth? In people's compliments? In the sales I make? No, it's in my Jesus and I need to start looking for it there. The competition stuff bothers me a lot too and just leaves a bad taste in my mouth when I see it going on. But I can only control my own reactions, so thank you for challenging me to do that today.

    That being said, I AM truly thankful for the friends I have made through blogging and tweeting. A lot of you girls are incredibly genuine & caring, challenging me and encouraging me as Chris is deployed.

    Thanks again Kim! Will be praying for that Anthro job to come through! ;)

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  31. Kim, Thanks for the post. I'm still very new to branching out into the handmade community. But I do love getting to know more and more crafty people. Seeing that I am not really part of the community I only get to see who I follow on the different social networks. I certainly like the photo about the "before you talk...one" I might have to have to get that one and printed so everyone can see it!
    I do believe that for me if I don't break away from the social network it will suck me in and become an idol.
    Thank you for being so open!
    Katrina

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  32. thanks so much for sharing your heart and being open and honest. this post is so timely as i have found myself struggling with balance. i want so badly to be liked by those in this "community" and that has become my focus instead of continually glorifying God.
    i have struggled to find balance between my job, my business and social media, all while putting Christ and my husband first. i have most certainly failed in the name of "working to grow my business". my husband needs to come before my blog & twitter and all other aspects of my business and i have so struggled to do this. so humbling and heartbreaking to have him come to me and say, "i wish you would put the computer down for me."
    as i strive to do this i am thankful for the real friendships i have found in this community. for those who will encourage me to walk away from the computer or to take a break from my crafting. for those who challenge me to grow closer to my Savior and to my husband. thank you to those women and thank you Kim for your beautiful words!

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  33. I've noticed a lot of this, too. As someone who's not really trying to be part of a community - a blogging community, a handmade community, etc. - I'm always shocked by the amount of bashing, passive-aggressively & outwardly aggressively, that I see happening on Twitter & blogs & elsewhere. Aren't we in this for ourselves, for one another, for the sake of doing things that make others happy? Where do people find it within themselves to be so horribly mean & competitive?

    I also wanted to note that the Ten Commandments aren't just a Christian theme, you know. As a practicing Jew, I, too, try my best not to worship false idols - and the way you described social media as influencing your life negatively in this way really hits home.

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  34. very well-written and very well-said, kim! your honesty is so appreciated and thought-proking. i've been thinking through some of these points myself so it was refreshing to see someone else mull through them.

    i also am intrigued to read up on those articles, esp. piper's! thanks for the links :)

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  35. I appreciate every word you said. Thank you. Thank you for keeping it real and bringing it back to what matters.

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  36. Amazingly well said. As someone sorta new, and trying to dive into social media (esp. twitter) some more, I have been sharing these feeling you descibed more and more. I have struggled with not feeling part of the in-crown while also knowing that i have much more important things I should be consumed with in my life. Thanks for being honest, and open about this.

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  37. Great post! So well written. I have also taken a step back in the recent weeks with all social media; I don't need it controlling my life, I don't want it to be an Idol. As a Christian, this post really hit home with me, and I will be reading those other article you linked to.
    Too many of these online "communities" have become nothing more than high school mean girls finding a new place to gang up others.
    Continue to make beautiful things, and continue to love doing it! You are so talented.

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  38. well said, sweet friend. whether or not people blog, tweet, facebook, or go old school and mail a letter... we are all deeply needy, narcissistic, and starved for attention at a depth that nothing or no one can satisfy but our Savior.

    "do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Romans 12:2

    great mind renewal. thanks for your transparency and boldness.

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  39. preach it girl. i'm pretty new to the blogging community and handmade world and i am quickly learning that people are very territorial and have this "us four no more" thing going on. i think it's really sad and unfortunately it has put a really bad taste in my mouth for several people i really looked up to. however i have met a lot of really genuine people in the bloggy/handmade world and have just decided to be careful who i let in my space although i wish i didn't have to! i agree with your theory lets just walk in love and not let our pride get the best of us.

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  40. This was lovely. I stumbled across the "handmade community" by accident and was excited to think that there might be some relationships built out of a common interest. But I quickly noticed the cattiness/cliqueness of it and it left a bad taste in my mouth. For a while, I thought it was just me, so I'm glad to know that there are others that are recognizing it and want to see it change. And of course, it's good motivation to examine my own heart :) Thank you.

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  41. You're completely right on with your post. I definitely feel like social media is an idol in my life. I also agree that there are cliques and exclusive unnamed clubs that for some reason I want to be a part of (I don't even know why). Thank you for your post today, I needed it!!

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  42. You are definitely not alone. I find myself getting so drawn in to trying to make my business a success that I neglect other areas of my life. I am a Christian and I do struggle with the computer, my business, etc. being idols and it shames me. There is a lot of bullying in the handmade "community" thanks to the anti-social email, text, chat, forum method of communicating. So basically you are the first person I've seen to actually write about this and the first person to be honest but based on the amount of comments posted here you're definitely not the first person to feel this way.

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  43. Kim --

    This is a great post -- I'm so glad you wrote it! I just truly think that if you decide to become a blogger, or a handmade artist you should do it because your passionate about it...because you love it and you love what you are making. We should let that be what drives us to create. We should find joy in it because we are doing something that ignites us.
    We should be kind and helpful to others, encourage them and not quickly assume they are one way or another, because your right...we don't really know 97% of them.
    As Christians we strive to glorify our creator. We strive to have character...and that should be in all avenues of life. If something ever is causing us to stumble or feel anxious strife (twitter etc..) then it's always wise to take a step back and re-evaluate how we interact with it/what we use it for.
    I have absolutely found that drama and some of the things you discussed are in everything and everywhere...the trick is to really try to avoid it and keep your focus on your faith, family and passion.

    Again, thanks so much Kim. You have been someone that reached out to me from the very beginning and really encouraged and uplifted me. You are a great example and I very much admire you. :)

    I wish you the very best always.
    -Savannah

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  44. And this is why you have been an inspiration to me! Thanks for posting this.
    It's so hard as a Christian to not let something that has become a source of income become an idol. I find myself immersed in social media, concerned what others think or will say, even before I consider what my Savior would say.
    I am challenging myself to set aside a certain amount of time a day to do social media "work". If I pass that time limit, than that's it for the day.
    Thanks again for your great words. (well, I'm sure the Lord placed them on your heart).

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  45. kim, so great of you to put this out there. i noticed this a bit ago when i really began trying to push my business further. i decided that the way i was going to handle things, was to simply ignore it...just like i would have in high school. honestly, i don't have the time for those politics. i believe that if i do what i love, when i have the time, things will work..and if that isn't enough, then it isn't enough. i've chosen to stay home with my family rather than work so i can stay home with my family. so, i do what i can. i believe that like minded people will follow my business and just ignore what goes on with "cliquey" bloggers. it's just part of business, i guess, since it's pretty much political and life isn't without. do what makes you happy and leave the rest :) also..good luck with the interview! i couldn't handle the employee discount. i would never bring home a paycheck! lol

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  46. thanks for sharing, you are not alone. I have felt this way since I started blogging/tweeting/crafting etc. Instead of encouragement I often feel like I get beat down with comments that I read and that just isnt right. I think this post needs to be on etsy's website so people can truly understand and appreciate a sense of community once again.

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  47. Thank you! You said it wayy nicer than I did, the clique thing drives me nuts! I have unfollowed several "big" bloggers because of other people thinking of them as idols. It is quite annoying. I also really need to unplug and spend more time with my fam..

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  48. Hi! I am just stubbling along your blog. I like you already.. ;) I can agree with you in that the social media has been an idol in my life. I have to, on a daily, go to the Lord first, before facebook, blogger, etsy, email..otherwise it is very easy for my focus to be dispositioned. I also love your point in just loving others. What an amazing oppertunity we have, being able to create such beautiful things, to go out of our way to make someone smile. To love on someone. We need to start a "love wave" or something..haha. A way to be proactive in loving our fellow bloggers. Any ideas?

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  49. I see you are getting a ton of feedback, but I wanted to leave a little somethin' too! I really respect you for writing this post and even though I don't have a handmade shop, {I would love to one day...} I do, of late, have FaithBlogs to manage and maintain. I guess I would just like to thank you, for this caution. It's only human to let things like social media and our creative outlets define us, instead of relying on Jesus for our EVERY need. I know I need to be careful, and I truly appreciate your wisdom. Thank you, thank you! With love, Katie

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  50. Isn't it wonderful to share something on your heart and see that it touches so many others? That is one of the joys of blogging.

    And it's clear that you've been feeling convicted of these very things {thank you Holy Spirit} and want to be held accountable by your peers as well. I applaud you for putting your own short comings out there so others can reflect and reevaluated areas they are struggling with as well.

    I feel like this is nothing new. It's called life being lived in a world of sin by sinners. So it doesn't matter what the platform is ... Blogs, Twitter, Shops, etc. ... it's easy for the devil to root his evil head in the form of selfishness, pride and a host of other attributes.

    However all of these things can also be wonderful and I feel like when your heart is right, they are. I don't worry about my tweets being re-tweeted or responded to {heck I don't even have a smart phone ... GASP!!}, I don't loose sleep when I don't have a ton of comments on a blog post and I sure don't let someone else make me think less of myself. But that is because I work daily at having my heart right before the Lord ... 'whatever you do, work at with all your heart, as unto the Lord and not for man.' That's really all you need to know!

    The other thing I do want to point out is that if you are in fact operating a business (vs. a hobby) I do believe you have to guard your efforts. There is nothing wrong with confronting someone who is in fact copying your ideas or using your hard work for their gain. A brick and mortar business would not put up with that kind of behavior and an online business shouldn't either. There is a way to handle it, in a non-public, loving manner, but it does need handled. I just don't want anyone to read this and think that you overlook certain things in the name of love & community, because then really all you've got is a facade that won't encourage anyone.

    Thanks again for sharing! Best wishes as you work through all of this and take a step back to reevaluate.

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  51. I'm not aware of the specific incident that you've referred to, but in terms of building any community, this type of negativity is more detrimental than good. And as you've mentioned, not behavior that God wants us to embrace.

    Finding balance between real and cyber life is delicate, and sometimes we'll get swayed one way or another. There is good from this experience that you've talked about, which is that people have responded with self-reflection on their own cyber practices. Just as valuable you are trying to be a more conscientious individual/blogger as a result. Excellent post!

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  52. Marie: good for you that you don't ever get wrapped up in social media. As for the rest of us, as you can see, it's a constant struggle. You make it sound as though we arent daily seeking the lord if we struggle..that's not even close to biblical. I also don't think that my utter distaste and unapproval for copycats is in question. And you're right..we can't people walk all over us in the name of love & acceptance, but how we react to those people should be with love & grace.

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  53. it's just twitter.

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  54. Kim: I didn't say I haven't struggled or that I won't struggle with this again. Right now however, because it has been at the front of my heart and mind {along with many other bloggers as this is a prevalent theme in posts of late}, I have been able to wake up each morning, focus my heart and take on the day worrying about me.

    I did not in any way mean to infer that others weren't seeking the Lord if they struggled. You're right that is un-biblical and un-realistic. I have plenty of areas I struggle with daily. But I also wanted to encourage your readers that these same 'negatives' can also be wonderful 'positives' when your heart is right.

    Blessings!

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  55. marie: gotcha. now we're on the same page ;)

    anonymous: ha. no, it's not just twitter. feel free to email me if you want to discuss anything further without anonymity.

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  56. i totally 100% agree. its rough out there, I had to make a decision a while back to only be slightly involved on the interwebs. i came upon the realization that so many people (myself included) are using blogs for vanity purposes. i wanted to throw up every time there was one of those "what I wore wednesday" posts... I then realized that it was just my own sin and vanity lurking about that was bringing these feelings out. filling my heart with the Lord sounds like the best remedy, and I pray that we can all do that. loves. Lisa

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  57. Beautiful thoughts, and major kudos to you for speaking your mind and encouraging everyone to live to a higher standard. I'm not a "creative", just a mommy blogger but that means I follow a lot of the handmade community. But I feel like all you said goes for the mom blogging community as well. Sometimes it can be so "mean girls!"

    In church this weekend our pastor talked about being "salt & light" to our communities. Twitter immediately came to my mind. I have struggled with following certian blogs or people on twitter because I'm afraid they will bring me down. But I had made the decision to be the Salt and light to those people. To strive to always be the encourager, and show them that there IS an answer to their emptiness and struggles.

    I encourage you to continue to be the salt and light to the handmade community. It's always a joy to see your sweet voice on my twitter feed, and how you are always setting the bar. Keep it up girl. I know it can get frustrating and difficult, but Jesus called us to be Salt and Light. Not always easy.

    You're just precious and doing an AMAZING job! I say a prayer for you every time I use my Oh Sweet Joy coffee cuff!!! Love to you sweet girl!

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  58. Bravo on a well-written,refreshing post! I got sucked into the twitterverse too and found it hard to make connections with other crafters because I wasn't able to tweet all day long and write blog posts every day and update my shop too! I found myself envious.

    I found that I was trying to keep up with everyone else and in the process, was focusing more on self than on my family, my faith, and my real life friends. I had my own proverbial kick in the face.

    Sooooo... I decided Twitter is interesting, but not moreso than a real conversation. People who read my blog will understand that I have a life that doesn't always allow time for blogging. And my shop will get new items when I have time leftover to craft after I tend to all of the more important things in life.

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  59. Kim, I love this. God clearly gave you something to say and you said it so that people of all communities (in and outside of handmade communities) can relate. I can't say I'm an "active" part of the handmade community at this point, but if God opens that door I'd love it! That being said, I haven't seen much of the cattiness you write about, but talking about social media in general...well, you can tell from your 50+ comments that a lot of people struggle with that! It's hard not to, right?? I read your post this morning before you had comments, and I can honestly say, after I read it, I thought, "I don't need to sit at this computer all day checking my email, blog, and twitter..." so I got up and got some real housework done, did some studying, and took a few 10 minute breaks to read some blogs, etc. Therefore, I can tell you, your writing made me refocus my day immediately! Thanks so much for laying it all out there! It clearly needed to be said (or you wouldn't have this many comments saying "thank you" on one post! ;) ) Have a FANTASTIC week!

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  60. I love this post because it's so true, not just about certain "communities" but about how people begin to thrive on their status in something. Social media can be so harsh and so can our peers. I have a blog about my journey of faith (which was strangely partly prompted by a similar happening) but if you can somehow turn a guest post into something like you wrote above, than I would love that because I love what you wrote. Just an idea. http://myyearoffaith.blogspot.com.

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  61. As with many of the individuals who have already commented, I have just recently started reaching out to the creative community in the way of Twitter. I did this for two reasons. The first was to connect with others who share a love of crafting, (Creative people on a whole are amazing). I have made a few connections through Etsy that have really been a blessing, and I wanted to see more of that. My second reason was to grow my business, so that I can hopefully continue to be a SAHM rather than feeling that I need to go back to work.

    In the 2 short weeks I have been tweeting, I have seen many of the things that you mentioned. I have made a few great connections, and I am really admiring the creative work of others. However, I have also felt a little like the odd girl out. A lonely girl starting a new school. I feel like I am throwing myself out there saying, "Please like me, love me, follow me". I can see how easy it is to become addicted. I am constantly checking it.

    I always tell my 11 yr old daughter that as long as she is treating others with kindness, honesty, and love, it doesn't matter if they "like" her or not. You don't have to be friends with everyone. Why oh why can't I follow my own advice.

    Your post has convicted me. I will make an effort to reach for my Bible for some quiet time with my Lord, before reaching for the smart phone or computer. My hope and confidence is in HIM!

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  62. I know what you mean - I unfriended some people on Facebook who I'd added or had added me when it was cool to have as many people as you could as friends. But hang on these people didn't speak to me when I was at school with them, or they bullied me till I cried - why were they my friends - I get high school is tough and kids can be mean but these people don't even speak to me now.

    I also unfriended some people I was at uni with because I didn't like the stuff they were posting appearing in my feed (guarding my heart and all) - I got a message from one of these people asking me why I'd unfriended them - erm well.....yeah I couldn't come up with a reason that made sense to any one who didn't know me that well.

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  63. Well said Kim. I left Facebook because I would get so discouraged by things people would post. I'd also realized that it became an idol in my life. I had to check Facebook all the time and see all the new statuses and see everyone's new pictures. I will admit I do seeing the pictures of my true friends. Other than that I don't miss Facebook. I had it as a way to reach out to unbelievers and it didn't really end up being that.

    Although I'm not actually a part of the handmade network, I found twitter encouraging when I started looking around and found people who made handmade stuff as I enjoy crafting as well. I did notice a "You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" mentality in the way that some of the give aways were run. Like, Hey I'll give you this free thing if you follow my blog, my friend's blog, me and my friend on twitter, etc. Sometimes I don't enter giveaways just because of that. I don't want to follow everyone, not everyone encourages me. Most of the people I follow, it's intentional because they are believers. I read their blogs because they are encouraging. Not everyone is a believer but most are.

    I also read that John Piper article previously and was very convicted by it. I've been slowly eliminating a lot of things from my life that aren't specifically Godly. My husband and I are praying about what movies we should keep and which ones we should just throw out. (Or use to upcycle in some way). Our lives should be glorifying to our Savior. I agree. What a timely post! Well said.

    Oh and to whoever said, "It's just Twitter." It's not just Twitter. Every thought, word, deed will be judges by Jesus one day. I want to hear Him say, "Well done good and faithful servant," not, "You missed so many opportunities I gave you to bless others because you were too busy with social media." Maybe that sounds silly but sometimes I think that social media, let's us think that we have relationships with people, when in actuality, a lot of times we don't talk to those people nearly enough. I'm just as guilty as the next person. But I am praying God would change my heart.

    ~Amanda (aka Toaster)

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  64. kim- i think you are so right. i have been thinking about this a lot, too. actually, about a year ago, i got rid of my blackberry because i couldn't go 5 minutes without checking it for a new email or facebook status updates. i am new to twitter, so i don't completely understand it, but i have recently found myself checking it too much. i have noticed at some of the chats how people get very aggressive. and facebook is the same way. people put negative, unkind things in writing that they would probably never speak out loud.

    anyway, my bottom line is this- i appreciate your post. i enjoyed the article you posted last week on twitter because it got me thinking. i want to blog because i enjoy it, not because i need the affirmation of followers. i want to use all of these outlets as a way for God to ultimately be glorified.

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  65. wow, wow, wow. you always hear about how having a handmade shop and doing it full-time is such a great thing, but then i read this post and thought "that isn't true, SA. so thanks!

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  66. I've had to take a hard look at the time I spend online, as I've definitely been neglecting my family. I work during the day so have just a few hours at night, and weekends, with the family. Focusing on Twitter & Facebook instead of them isn't cool. I'm still trying to find that balance.

    Part of that, though, is feeling as if I need to be super connected via social media, in order to promote my Etsy shop. I have 2 goals for my shop this year during the slow months - branding & new items. On the branding journey, I've jumped into Twitter a lot more than I used to, and got connected to the group of handmade ladies there. I'm currently following a bazillion people and a bazillion blogs. Some I'm finding a personal connection with, some I'm not. I've only been on the periphery of the drama you've highlighted - thankfully. But I've got my own internal drama to get over.

    "Why didn't that blogger respond to my comment?"

    "Why isn't that person following me on Twitter? We have so much in common, including Twitter friends - does she not like me? Is she just at capacity? Is she not connecting who I am to other places she's seen me around?"

    "What will happen if I unfollow people? Will they hold a grudge against me? Will they even notice?"

    Some of that stems from seeing so much emphasis being placed on gaining followers - I see the push all over Twitter. Sales, RTs, giveaways - for follower milestones. It makes me wonder, do they analyze who follows & unfollows? If they do, and I unfollow them, does that mean I can't approach them for anything connected in the future? I mean, I really haven't run across anyone I don't like. I've just found people I don't have much in common with, and who I can't keep up with.

    But all this angst - WHY AM I NOT HAVING THIS ANGST OVER THE STATE OF MY FAMILY?! My priorities are out of whack.

    I definitely see and feel the cliques within the handmade community - the community I'm involved with via Twitter, the local indie community, the online Etsy community. I don't seem to fit anywhere, and I'm definitely tired of feeling any angst about it.

    I appreciate all you've said, Kim.

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  67. i do see all of this (maybe not as much as some!) i am a new person to all of this. i started my business out of the love of what i do and it has grown to having a website BUT it is hard to break in to this world. people already have their favorites, is their no room for new people? Do not get me wrong.... there is a lot of love still out there, we just need to slow down and love what we do and support each other.

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  68. I think these are really great points.
    I am new to the "community" but find it hard to find "community" but maybe I'm not looking in the right places.

    In regards to Twitter, I've found that taking a Twitter/facebook free break over the weekend while the husband is home is the best break for me. I work full time so fit in shop stuff when I get home from work & it kills me when the husband feels like we're not spending time together.

    This post makes me wonder if it's worth it, y'know? Should I just be content with the day job & focus on being a good wife/friend/follower of Christ?

    I don't know. Life is confusing & hard. Thanks for your honesty. I find it refreshing.

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  69. Hi Kim, I'm brand new to this whole handmade world, and it is sad to know this is what I have come into. I hope I can find some kind, supportive, friendly girls out there for help and encouragement. You're right though, our worth (if we let it) can be determined by our sales, RTs, responses etc.- My shop is off to such a slow start (as in ONE sale in a month) that I'm ready to throw in the towel. Does that mean that what I make is ugly? Useless? Too expensive? Worthless? Does that make ME consequently so? But if it is something that I love, should I keep plugging away? Now hearing about the petty arguing amongst online artisans...wow. I certainly need to learn how to grow a harder shell - and realize that my worth will only ever come from my relationship with Christ. Thanks for posting this. It gives me food for thought.

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  70. I love that you posted this. I'm fairly new to this whole blogging thing as well as the handmade community and I've already seen the things you spoke of, first hand. There's no doubt that balancing time between my kids, husband, family time and my business have been hard. In just 8 short months I've had to sit down a few times and really think about my priorities. I have my business because I love to sew and it's a nice way to bring in some extra cash for our family, but it's not a necessity and it's not something that I'm willing to let come between me and my family, me and my friends or me and my real life!
    Thanks so much for posting this. I'm definitely going to pass it on!

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  71. Thanks for writing this Kim! It definitely needed to be said... it's so sad to see something that could be so beautiful become something so ugly [but what can we expect when we live in a fallen world, huh?]. Thanks for the reminder and convicting post, girlie! :]

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  72. Great post girl! Straight from the heart & I love it! It's obvious God is using you & your bringing light to this issue for His glory in your own life & in others! :)

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  73. i just want to say i stinking LOVE your whole shebang you have going on!!! the blog, the shop, the faith, the INSPIRATION, the love you send out, the robins egg blue, the way you've become something i so look forward to clicking over to! you just keep up the good job and everything will go your way :) LOTS OF THAT L-O-V-E STUFF, april

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  74. Well, as someone who is new to the handmade network, I don't really find it too supportive at all. I've found support in a few people and the one person I reached out to has been supportive. It's a very cliquey group and hard to break in to. I seek out Twitter chats because I want honest feedback - not fluff. My family & friends love my stuff but that doesn't mean everyone will.

    That said, as a Christian, I don't find it to be an idol. However, I feel it's a necessary part of building up my business. I'm a mom and wife first. My husband works a ton of hours a week and it's a rule that once he's home, I unplug, unless there's a Twitter chat taking place that I want to be a part of. Our time together is sparse so I make the most of it. I can easily see how it can take over, though.

    Great post! Thanks for the food for thought.

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  75. As a christian, a wife, a mom I am striving to keep balance before I loose control in the handmade world! I would love to be in business. I would love for my hobby to be more than that..... but I am thinking it's not the best thing. I have a part time job at my kids school and thanks to this blog post, I will be keeping it! I also sub so I work a lot some weeks. Others I don't and I get to sew.

    I do twitter, I do facebook, I do have a fan page, I do have a website, but I am trying to keep it at that and not have it become an idol!

    I will read the articles you suggested when I get a minute!

    Thanks for keeping it honest and real!

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  76. This post was really interesting. I also read a lot of the comments and people had great things to say.

    I, like many of the other commentators, am relatively new to the whole craft/design blogging community. I had already read and admired many blogs and since starting a blog, I realized how clique-y it really was. Twitter felt like I was sitting in a party I wasn't invited to and I'd post questions and comments on blogs I had once admired only to hear crickets. I had no idea that it was so difficult to talk to this "community" when everyone came off so friendly and open in their posts. It was rather discouraging.

    I soon realized that I, myself, continue to write and post because it makes me grow and encourages me to be creative.

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  77. Connie, the fact that you are blogging for yourself & your creativity is awesome. Second, most bloggers respond to questions via email and your email address isn't connected to your blogger profile..so that may be why you're hearing crickets???

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  78. I have totally been seeing this lately on facebook and twitter...I thought I was going crazy, couldn't believe it. Thanks for this post and I def chose a GREAT blog and person to do business w for at least 3 months : )

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  79. great post. i couldn't agree more.

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  80. THIS IS A GREAT POST. You really couldn't have said it better.

    This is actually one of the reasons I recently quit blogging. I was feeling overwhelmed by all of the social networking and more times than not the "community" felt more like a competition. So-called friends turned out to only be friends because they thought they could get something from me. I just couldn't do the gossip and back-stabbing and comparing numbers and comments and followers that was going on. :(

    I definitely had to take a step back and find a balance in my life and the blogging/social world. It's made so much of a difference!

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