I can’t really offer indignation as requested at the end of the post but I had to comment, since the chances of TJ seeing me semaphore my approval from over here are made even slimmer by the snowstorm outside my window.
I did not get -alongs when I was a knitter, even less so with sewing, where I will never cease to marvel at how much faster than knitting the process is. At last for the simple garments. Don’t mention iPod cosies and Pompom scarves, since they are a great way for people to start out with a new skill.
Unless an activity requires other people to be carried out successfully (like comedy improvisation does) I really have no idea why people just desperately need mates to do it with. Book clubs I do not get (I have to finish this when someone tells me to? Woot?) and if I go to the cinema with other people it’s because it’s the 2-for-1 offer and I am broke that week. But generally speaking I am more than happy doing things on my terms and at my own pace.
It doesn’t mean I am always succesful. Far from it. It means I can deal with failure as well as success. It means that I can live with myself, which is not a bad skill to have.
What this sewing community is about -when it’s good- is that it feeds the part of me that is much happier having one single exchange with someone I am unlikely to meet in IRL about a shared interest than I am with the million of inane conversations I have with the people I interact with IRL everyday(*).
And when I say “when it’s good” I mean when it’s kind and decent to the n00b, which it generally is, as long as the n00b doesn’t ask daft questions.
I know what I would like to do with people who do not read what I write only to ask a question already answered in the first paragraph. It’s why I doubt I will ever do tutorial-like posts even if I am ever skilled enough to have something to offer. And it’s also why I keep a cricket bat on my desk at work(**).
Is it leeching? Perhaps, but I do not blog to teach people anything, although I would be first to the rescue if anybody needed help that I could actually offer. My old blog, which was alive and well for seven whole years, was based around absolutely nothing and I used to post a lot more often than I do on this.
Having said all this, do you want to guess how often I look at how many followers I have? Nah, didn’t think so.
If you think this sounds despondent, if you should have met my Gran. If you want to tap me on the shoulder and tell me I need to be a little bit nicer or I’ll die alone, I am miles ahead of you already.
As a kid from the only atheist family in a staunchly religious area, who got bullied by the other kids for not going to church for the best part of twenty years, I can guarantee there is very little that I cannot enjoy doing by myself.
I just do not get how people just want to be “in”. But that is what they call a story for another day.
I will stick to the part of this community I like, rather than go look for the feeling that I belong because we are all wearing the same frock even though it only fits 3 out of the 20 people who are wearing it (and doesn’t that sound dangerously like what I witnessed in school?).
A shared interest is a great starting point for conversations, but it would sustain a friendship alone and it will not make you all the same hip measurement for making that frock.
I guess most people join -alongs because feel they lack the motivation to finish that dress, of bust the stash, and to a smaller extent like to find help if they get stuck, even though in my experience that help is already in Google somewhere rather than in a specific community. And if it works for them, all the better for it. I just don’t feel it.
What I do feel is that the Internet gives you the chance to go undercover and not tell the world you haven’t finished that project, or how unhappy you are with it.
All these people are dead nice to each other whenever something is finished and fitting, so why so much fear of sharing the unfinished and unfitting?
I did mention comedy improvisation because it’s one of a few things where you do need others that I actually have enjoyed.
I recently had a chat with someone who has been doing it for a similar length of time. Most of what TJ and Dibs have said can be applied to that same community with little modifications and with more extended ramifications.
Smallish community of very passionate people starts growing exponentially. So many N00bs join the fold that the occasionally horrid specimen slips through the net and ruins the fun for everyone else.
Smallish community of very passionate people starts growing exponentially. Not everyone has time or the inclination to be nice to the N00bs who aren’t quite good enough yet and/or have mistaken a shared interest for a cult where they will find the friends they have never had (for a reason) and eventually a spouse.
N00bs who have put absolutely nothing in the community get frustrated at the lack of meaningful relationships that they were just expecting to have found at this point, so they ruin everything for everyone else and storm off to build their own community, which implodes in the space of a few months(***).
I could go on for a long time, but the snowstorm is on a break and I need to get to work. The moral of the story? Be nice to each other, trust your abilities, and Google before you ask a question.
(*) I love my colleagues and I know how lucky I am that I get on well with the people I have to spend 8+ hours with every day. Still, we don’t share that many interests.
(**) Sadly, I don’t. But even the Mr Donaghy who told me I couldn’t have one agreed with me on the desperate need for one.
(***) Can you tell the difference between some websites and real life? Sometimes neither can I.