Social Media for Crafters ebook launched

screen shot of book cover
Social media consultant Lorelle Van Fossen has launched an ebook Social Media for Crafters: Covering the Basics of the Social Web.

The book covers why crafters would want to be involved in Social Media, what they need to be able to participate, privacy protection, incorporating social media in your everyday life, blogging, using Facebook and Twitter, joining groups and forums online, sharing multimedia and the best part of all making contact face to face.

If you are unsure why engaging with social media might help your craft activity either as a hobbyist or as a professional check out my take on the subject written for craft month at Wordcast on Why Should Crafters and Artists Blog

Lorelle Van Fossen has loaded Social Media for Crafters  with well founded advice, that is clearly presented and relates directly to artists and crafters.

Make my Day Award


I have been tagged by Vero of Au Fil du Jardin and Neki of A Moveable Feast for the Make my Day Award. The rules are that I am supposed to tag 10 other blogs that make my day, Then post a comment on their blog to let them know. I hate playing favourites but here goes …

Annie of Annies Crazy World who I know well as she lives in the next suburb to me. We get together weekly to stitch, we share not only a love of crazy quilting but we both blog so our conversations bounce between did you see … on … blog to stitching to general chat about the garden, the drought, our kids etc. Annie is a good friend.

Elizabeth of Quieter Moments has constantly delighted me with her constant explorations of stitches in the TAST challenge. Running the challenge was really worth it simply to get to know her better.

The Embroideress. Linn Skinner’s blog was one of the first textile related blogs I read. She knows her stuff and constantly provides me with a good read or link.

Allison of Allie’s in Stitches for her constantly good eye candy.

Pam Kellogg also for her great eye candy and she often posts free patterns on her blog and gives freely to the community. For instance Pam has matched  the Take it Further January Palette to DMC floss colors and posted it on her blog

Jude of Spirit Cloth because of her sensitivity to the medium of fabric and I love the way she weaves a narrative through her stitching

Linda of Chloes Place is also someone I have met face to face and feel we ‘click’

Jo of No Matter Where I Go…I Always Meet Myself There! because she blogs great eye candy and consistently supports activities in the online community of crazy quilters.

Virginia Spiegel because I admire her both her creative fiber work and all the energy she puts into raising money for charity

Jerry of Mindsigh – my husband and best friend. He certainly makes my day. We have just had our 28th anniversary, he still makes me laugh and always sees life from a slightly different angle.

OK I am off the computer and on the sewing machine today in my nice clean workroom.

Those doing the Take it Further challenge don’t forget as I mentioned Pam Kellogg has matched  the Take it Further January Palette to DMC floss colors and posted it on her blog

How do I keep up with all these blogs?

I have just updated the Take it Further challenge page as people are still signing up. At the time of writing this the number of challengers is sitting at 241 I am going to cut off the sign up period soon because its getting to be a lot of work emailing, and listing who has joined.
I know people are wondering how they may track all these participants blogs and I received another email about ‘keeping up’ with reading blogs. Between 5-10% of people who have signed up are new to blogs and in some cases new to the net. For anyone who is just discovering blogs, at first it does appear daunting. You don’t have to click from blog to blog to see if your favourite blogs have added anything new.

What you need to use is an aggregator or RSS feed reader. They are both the same thing. Now please don’t throw your hands in the air and say its too geeky because if you take a few minutes to set one up it will save your hours and hours of time online and they are free.
Take a look at this video. It’s quick and explains the idea of RSS in an easily understood way.

If you watch the video you will see there is two things to do. The first is to sign up for a reader.
There are many available but I use Google Reader and in the past I have used Bloglines but there are many more. These services are free, easy to set up

Both are read from your browser a bit like an email program. There is no software to download and install. For textile people who are not into computers this is a big plus.

The second is to subscribe to your favourite blogs. You can do this the way that is demonstrated in the video or often in Google reader click the Add subscription box in the left hand side of the reader. Copy and paste the web address of the blog you want to subscribe to into the field and 99% of the time google will find the feed for you. You can also subscribe to peoples flickr sites as Flickr provides an RSS feed – you don’t need to know a thing about RSS except that you can pull an RSS feed into your reader.
There is a tutorial on using Google reader by Andy Wibble and this article on using Bloglines for further clear comprehensive instructions illustrated with screenshots which has been published by Preetam Rai.

MeeTimer

My last line in my post yesterday said I was off to look for some logging software which I found. I am using MeeTimer which is a Firefox extension (my browser of choice). As I type it’s ticking away in the bottom corner of my browser window. MeeTimer not only records how long you are online but where you spend it. So if I am attending to my email it records I am doing that. If I am answering questions in the joggles forums it records that too. As I said yesterday working out how I spend my time spent online is hard to track because I teach a web design and network literacy including blogging at university level. Tracking latest news and research in particular area means a lot of online reading as that is where it is published.

My reading/research drops a little at this time of year because we have just finished up for the year as our academic year runs from February to November with a mid year break. I keep a blog Mindtracks that logs much of this material which I see as part of my working life. Then there is this blog which of course takes time to write particularly when I have a fit of the chatters like this week!

As readers know I also offer stitching and crazy quilting classes over at joggle.com. Since two classes are currently running I am logged into the forums answering questions for at least an hour and a half a day. Currently too I am writing a new course for joggles.com this one is on visual journals and I have been looking at visual journal and design resources online a bit. Not a lot but a bit.

With MeeTimer I can where I spend your time online and group websites into activities so for instance email can be classified as communication and writing this can be classified as blogging. Thats a big plus.
I keep a To do list on Backpackit, my Calendar is Googles online Calendar, I use Google docs as a word processor to write drafts for blog posts and course materials, del.icio.us to bookmark sites, Google alerts to alert me to regular searches, I also use the Google Reader to pull in RSS feeds, Flickr and Picasa to store images, I do and Gmail for my email, and I am in a number of email Groups. Now as you can see this is all online activity and it is mixed. For instance on my To do list I have both personal and work related tasks. The same applies to my Calender . In google docs I have documents that relate to both work and play and my bookmarks and reader house feeds and resources for all areas of my life. MeeTimer only allows me to allocate a classification to the site not a particular document. So for instance in Google Docs I could be working on blog draft or a course outline. Two different activities as one if for this blog (play) and the other is work.

Why is it all online and browser based? Because I can be sitting at up to 5 different computers in a day. At home we have a computer, I have a lap top, and we have 3 teaching labs at work all of which I teach in. I work from all these computers. This means that if I was using desktop applications I would be forever carrying files around to transfer from one computer to the other. However because much of my work and resources is kept online I can simply log in to my area of the site and work from there.

Now this is the glitch. I have installed MeeTimer on my laptop, as that is the computer I use most but since it can not ‘move with me’ only part of my time online will be tracked.

For what it is worth I am tracking my time online and hope to be able to give an honest answer to much time it takes to blog. With this software I can probably get an idea of what it takes to write 2 blogs. Since sometimes I spend more time blogging and other weeks I ease off I am going to track it for about 8 weeks so that it catches the flow and since Christmas is in the middle of this it will take into account a busy time. The advantage of doing it now is that I am not teaching so I am mainly working from home (doing course preparation keeping up with the reading etc) and if I can contain what I do to my lap top I should be able to get an honest reading.

Since I am watching the clock and its the time of year to be thinking of what is happening next year, goals and the like I will probably end up thinking about time management. Are people interested in this topic? Do you want to know more about how I manage my day? Leave a comment and feel free to ask questions.

The MeeTimer site has a brief article on how to curb time online with logging software which readers may want to check out.

Oh I have the chatters this week what on earth has happened? Well its taken me 44 minutes to write this, or so MeeTimer tell me so I had better get a wriggle on with my day. There are Christmas gifts to make!