Social media is everywhere these days.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok. No matter which ones you use, it’s hard to get away from using a social media platform of some kind.
In today’s post, we’re going to talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly of social media and how it intersects with our quilting and sewing.
Social media can be a great way to find quilting and sewing inspiration. A wide variety of fabric artists, from beginners to professionals, use their social media accounts every day to show what they’re working on. It’s easy to connect with these creatives, too, just by liking or commenting on their posts.
A lot of social media content from quilters and sewists focuses on teaching or demonstrating a technique, making it a great source for learning a new sewing skill or getting over a quilting hump. Social media posts will often lead to more detailed information, such as a blog post or video tutorial.
It’s also a great place for YOU to share not only your finished creations but also your process as you sew and quilt. Your sharing does double duty: inspiring others and creating a record of your creative work!
Sharing pictures and ideas online is great, but some people take sharing too far. Many people don’t understand the copyright rules around digital content, such as PDF quilt patterns and designs, and will upload copyrighted materials to social media sites. I’ve even seen people upload scanned copies of a printed quilting pattern book to a Facebook group!
People might think that anything they find on the internet is free and fair game for sharing, but the reality is that this is intellectual property theft that hurts the pattern designers who worked hard to create the pattern.
Reading and watching content on social media can also become extraordinarily time-consuming. You can easily spend hours on a social media site without even realizing how much time has passed.
Additionally, it can be hard to see everyone’s “perfect” life and “perfect” quilts on social media when you don’t consider that these posts are not only just a snapshot of someone’s day but often a carefully curated and designed snapshot. It can be easy to feel inadequate when you compare yourself to others based on their social posts.
Sometimes people are meaner when they’re sitting behind their screen than they ever would be in person. They can type comments that are intentionally, mean, hurtful, and often patently untrue. And while you may be tempted to respond to ugly comments with some snark of your own, it’s just never a good idea to argue with people on the internet.
There’s an alarming trend that’s growing with social media called doxxing. This is when someone deliberately posts private information about another person, such as their address, phone number, or place of employment. Doxxing is typically done as a retaliatory measure, with the intent of causing harm to someone that they disagree with.
Although doxxing may be more common with politicians, it’s seeped into every segment of social media. And that includes quilters and sewists. Doxxing someone because you disagree with their opinion about something, no matter how wrong you think they are, is simply wrong. It’s hurtful, hateful, and can destroy a person’s life.
How To Make Social Media A Positive Presence
1. Limit how much social media you consume.
Try setting a limit on how much time you’ll spend perusing social media each day. One trick to make this easier is to just choose a few platforms to engage with. Many people will post the same content across a variety of platforms, so you probably won’t miss anything by sticking to just a few platforms.
Instagram is one of the most popular platforms for quilters and crafters as its primary focus is images and short videos. Facebook is another popular choice with lots of sewing and quilting groups where you can engage with others. (Check out our group here!)
2. Curate Who You Follow
When you first join social media sites it can be tempting to follow everyone who is suggested to you. This can get overwhelming quickly, and can easily result in a social media feed that is scattered and a bit random with its content.
Take a few minutes to scroll through the list of who you’re following. It’s ok to remove accounts that no longer interest you or whose content you don’t enjoy.
Then take a few minutes to see if you can add anyone new and interesting to your feed. Check out the lists of who some of the quilters and sewists are following, and explore these new accounts to see if you can find anyone interesting or inspirational to add to your own feed!
3. Don’t Argue With People On the Internet
If you see something you don’t like or an opinion that you don’t agree with, just scroll on by. You don’t need to engage with every conversation you find.
Again, while this seems like it might only apply to controversial topics such as politics and religion, I’ve seen some downright brawls break out on posts about quilting. Even in quilting, there are topics that have a variety of opinions, such as pre-washing fabrics, making clothes from quilts, and who is the “best” at something. There can even be fights about personal design choices, like colors, fabrics, and layout!
If you have something thoughtful or interesting to add to a discussion, then definitely do so. But always keep in mind that there’s a real, live, human sitting on the other side of that screen who will read your words.