Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Oh, the Tangled World Wide Webs We Weave...

Yesterday I promised you a list of all the fascinating sites where you can find Jacob's Reward Farm, and me, the humble shepherd. Here's my sort-of chronological journey into social media sites:

I believe it all started with Ravelry. Thirty-something couple Jes and Casey dreamed up the most incredible... what?... knitting data base / community / marketing venue / wicked-cool internet site for knitters (and others) ever conceived. Spinner-pal Liz pestered us until we all finally signed up. Whoa. Not a moment too soon. In my opinion, this venue stands alone - in good looks, intuitive operation, comprehensiveness, potential, and fun. Nothing else comes close. I met Jes and Casey (and Mary-Heather) at last year's Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, and I told them what I thought of their site. I slobbered a little out of sheer awe, which was kind of embarassing. If you knit and you're not on Ravelry - well, I can't express to you in words how much you're missing.

Etsy. I have a small Etsy shop where I sell a few of my farm products - notably my knitting sheep magnets, and some miscellaneous things I used to schlep to various retreats and craft shows. When we get our fiber shares distributed, I may work on selling any leftover fiber through that shop. Etsy is also a beautiful site that glories in all things handmade and artsy. You can browse a long time there, spend a bunch of money, and come away inspired and maybe a bit intimidated. It's a very pretty site. I have not fully plumbed its potential as a marketing venue.

Then I learned about LocalHarvest.org where lots of my organic veggie farmer friends had listings. There are a lot of fiber people on LH as well, so I had fun writing up that listing. There's even a rudimentary blog associated with it, and I've learned that enough people read that site, that I should keep up my blog every so often. I have several good egg customers who found me through LH. Worth the time and little bit of money to plug the farm there.

Next, came Facebook. What started as a simple way to keep track of my sisters and nieces soon became a time-sucking obsession as I re-connected with college pals, old church friends from Tulsa, and folks from other random areas of my life. I had resisted Facebook for a long time, thinking it was just a hook-up site for college kids. Wrong. I have to admit some really fun times reliving my college years - 30+ years ago. Those walks down memory lane notwithstanding, I find Facebook to be terribly difficult to figure out, and frustrating to get it to do what I want. But, our first Shareholder came through my associations with Facebook, so I'll stick with it. You just never know...

I have profiles at several sites that right now seem pretty similar. I'm not quite sure how much time to invest in these: CattleGrowers.com, HobbyFarm.com, FarmersfortheFuture.com. I even learned that Spin Off Magazine was starting its own on-line community, and I signed up, but haven't been back more than once or twice. A new one, AlpacaSocial.com, seems to have lots of fun potential to hook up with other alpaca breeders, but probably not many potential shareholders.

Then there's Twitter. What in the heck is Twitter? I've seen people I'm "following" use it various ways: as a 140-character stream of consciousness journal, which usually gets pretty boring after a while, or as a quick way to post links of interest - stuff they've found on the net, or stuff they "re-tweet" from other Twitterers. It's getting a reputation for posting relevant stuff that gets you lots of followers. I have actually "unfollowed" someone because they spammed everyone. Bad form. I can use Twitter to direct people to the blog, by featuring a link to a fun blog post. I have so much to learn!

The newest place I found, thanks to our friend Mary, is Vimeo.com - a place to upload videos, kind of like YouTube, but with strict rules about what can get uploaded - nothing commercial. It's the video version of Etsy - it all must be home made. Good production values here. I'll be spending more time there in the future.

The crowning glory will be when I get everything together to start The Farm Podcast.

I know I can't do everything, and so I'm trying to learn which areas have the greatest return per hour of sitting at the computer, to build up the farm.

I'd be very interested to hear about your experiences in the jungle of Social Media sites.... please comment! Got any good places I haven't found yet? Any to stay away from? Which is your guilty pleasure as you surf the net?

2 comments:

  1. I will definitely have to get back to ya...I'm exhausted. You're busy enough for the 2 of us! Must be all that fresh farm air and eggs. I hope I can make it to sheering day - I really hate missing anything at Jacob's Reward Farm!!

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  2. I forgot to mention Yahoo and Flickr. I do use those as well. I have not used Flickr as a place to start a "group." I only signed up so I could post pictures to Ravelry - and now I learn it has more further reaching abilities. I think I have all I can say grace over, plus some. What do you think?

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