I was poking around the Internet Archive yesterday In the text Archive an noticed that last week Beeton’s Book of Needlework was the second most downloaded book of the week with 8,293 downloads.Now these are downloads of this book in one single week. That’s a lot of needleworkers online downloading this book in one week. I would love to know just how many active stitchers are online.
In the industry often the various textile and craft communities are seen as small little backwaters of the net filled with little old ladies who barely know how to click a mouse let alone communicate online. I know this stereotype is wrong and I sense that as a niche it is not as small as even some stitchers think particularly if we take this little statistic as an indicator of interest.
I think there are many stitchers who are active on discussion forums and email groups and yet another cluster who blog but I sense this is just a very small indicator of the number of stitcher who use the net regularly.
Many people simply browse, read and download material but do not necessarily keep a blog or regularly interact with a discussion group. In other words lots of stitchers lurk. As an indicator this blog gets between 1,000- 1,500 hits in a day – which it does regularly – often those hits only generate 4 or 5 comments. So there is a lot of hidden activity which I think this download statistic from the internet archive also points to. Think about it for a moment if you think of all the sub categories of textiles knitting, quilting, sewing, costume , and so on. How many of us are there? Of course there is no real way of knowing or linking up such a large group but boy what a social network site it would make if it did and knowing stitchers they would talk to one another- gosh it would be a busy corner of the web! It would be a busy online life indeed – perhaps too busy to get any stitching done!
That wild thought aside why do you think people lurk? By lurk I mean read but never even leave a comment? I can understand how people might find a discussion group or keeping a blog too time consuming but I am interested in those who read but never even comment. If you read something interesting it is easy enough to chip in to the conversation for moment but many don’t. Why do you think? Is it that they feel there is nothing in it for them? Are people conditioned to consume but not participate? Or do we really in a world where people happily take but don’t give back? These are just a few questions in my mind before I bound into the shower and go to work. I would love to hear people thoughts on this.