Jim Long - Digital Media and Culture

Creating a Community for Crafters, Ideas Become Action As We Launch CraftyNation.Com

Capricorn, Community, and Craft

Just before boarding a flight to the Craft Hobby Association show this past Friday, I gave one last check on Twitter. Twitter friend and resident astrologist @KrazyKritter had just posted Capricorn. Now look, I’m not normally superstitious, but the outlook for Capricorn resonated with me.

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“Today is finally the right time to embrace a new idea and work on fleshing it out”horoscope for Capricorn, 7-20-07

I was energized by this message as i flew to Chicago to cover this huge crafting industry trade show for Crafty Nation our new media venture.

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The show was a huge success for us, by way of coverage and for getting our brand out there. We met wonderful people working in this space who were very excited about what we are creating – folks like Margot Potter, Candie Cooper, Katie Hacker, Cari Clement, Debba Haupert, Nicole Mumma, and Amy Romano. Why build a social network and content channel for crafters? Well for one, it’s a natural for social networking. Crafters are passionate about what they do and love to share their ideas and their work with others. They truly are a community. Even at the CHA, which is a decidedly commerce driven event, the community was vibrant and energizing. Craft and Hobby is a 30 billion dollar industry and there are many brands out there looking to associate themselves with the online craft conversations.

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promoting the Crafty Nation brand during an education session at CHA

Fleshing Out the Idea

Now it’s time to tackle the most important part of Friday’s horoscope: “work on fleshing it out”. This means listening to our “board of advisors”, the early adopters of CraftyNation’s social media platform. How do we build it and make it better? A drop dead simple, stare-you-in-the-face, idea about how to do that came from Margot Potter. She told me that crafters like to customize their profiles because they’re, well, creative. Thank you Margot!! @conniereece, @AnnOhio, @WickedStepmom, @Uavery, @brendajos, and many more “Twitter Knitters” have been tremendously helpful in pointing out usability issues. What we’ve done with our phase one beta launch is to take an idea that only a year ago was a discussion over coffee, between myself and business partner Toni Lyn, and turned it into a strong start for something that will only grow. As we build out Crafty Nation, it’s the feedback from our community that will drive the direction and growth of this space, so that we can help create real value. We want to give voice to the vibrant fabric of the craft community, and create a place where we’re merely custodians of something much larger than the site itself.

Niche Market Video Content Engaging Your Target Audience

Here’s a link to the programs we’ve created. We also did some quick turnaround daily dispatches from the conference. Video is a very big part of Crafty Nation. Our video content celebrates the creativity and spirit of crafters, and our hope is that it acts as a springboard for conversation and community on our site.

At a dinner on Monday night with Lee Aase and Dennis McDonald, that was supposed to include Jeremiah Owyang, we discussed social media, niche market content, and the evolution web video. Dennis and Lee both have tremendous insight into this space, and are lovely dinner companions. Great food and conversation. Jeremiah’s absence led us to wonder if he was in fact a real person, or just an avatar.

 

Video thumbnail. Click to play
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In all seriousness, Jeremiah IS in fact real, and I look forward to meeting him in the very near future! He and Lee were attending the Frost and Sullivan Sales and Marketing Conference in Alexandria. Both blogged on a session I would’ve loved to have attended: “Brand Building: Engaging your Target Audience with Rich Media and Video” That could be the title of the Crafty Nation story. As our ideas become action and we “flesh out” Crafty Nation, it’s our community that will drive that change. I’m excited about the journey we’ve embarked on!

  • http://everydotconnects.com Connie Reece

    Thanks for inviting me to be part of the “advisory board” of CraftyNation. It’s a great concept and I’m having fun adding my two cents’ worth (hey, ya getz what ya payz for) to the site structure feedback.

    You’re one of the great community builders online, Jim. That’s what will make CN stand out as well.

  • http://www.twitteringontheedge.com Ann

    …what? no mention of the marketing support provided by the Twitter gang? :o)

    It is interesting to tie the social networking of Twitter with the crafting part of my life. It still am amazed when I see my photo when logging into Crafty Nation—were all the crafting supermodels previously booked?

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  • http://blue-knitter.livejournal.com brendajos

    Oh No! Does this mean I have to start cleaning up my tweets for a while? I am not sure I am ready for that level of committment!

    I am very excited to see this grow. I love finding new ideas for projects and I think a community like this will be a great place for that!

    Brenda

  • http://www.vergenewmedia.com Verge New Media

    Twitter knitters,

    Connie- your .02 is worth millions!! keep ’em coming!

    Ann- CraftyNation is taking your marketing plan under advisement. 😉

    Brenda, nah just keep doing what you’re doing!

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