Social Media for Quilters: Facebook

I read a decent article today called “Essential Facebook Etiquette: 10 Do’s And Don’ts by Michael Poh.  It is well worth a read, and it got me to thinking about how far we have come with technology.  When you think about quilters in history, don’t you picture ladies sitting around a quilting frame stitching?  What do you suppose they are talking about?  Probably a lot of gossip flying around the frame: he did this, she did that, did you see their house kinds of things.  Oh yes, comparing of recipes, who has a better quilting stitch, which shop has the newest fabric on hand, and what the next quilt will look like when you get around to it. 
Times have sure changed!  Not that many quilters sit around a frame together to stitch.  Our lives are so busy with family, work outside the home,  cleaning and laundry inside the home, and sitting in front of a computer or with a phone or tablet on our lap.  And quilters aren’t just women, either! Lots of men quilt!
Today’s crazy world now includes television, computers, tablets, cell phones with texting, Facetime, instant messaging, and group chat.  Facebook and Pinterest have taken over many hours of the day for lots of quilters, and they came about so fast that we really haven’t stopped to think about what it means, or how to react.  Do we NEED etiquette in Facebook?  Are there rules?  Guidelines?
I try to use my gut instincts to help me know how to react.  I’ve learned to think them through, however, because sometimes it’s all too easy to just act quickly and really make a mess of things.  Let me give you an idea of what I’m talking about.  True story…  An acquaintance in my town invited me to “friend”  her on Facebook, so I did.  She started selling chocolate candy through a company as a home-based business, and every single day of the week I got Facebook post after post about how yummy the chocolate was, and how much I really needed to buy some from her.  I sent her private message after private message asking her to please cease and desist.  I begged her to not use her Facebook friends as her target for chocolate sales.  I told her that I had bariatric surgery, can’t eat sugar, and chocolate use to be my addiction and I was trying to stay on the straight and narrow path.  It didn’t matter.  I eventually got smart and decided that nothing was going to change her, but I didn’t need to have those posts in front of me every day.  I decided to end our Facebook relationship and pulled the plug.
Notice I didn’t say that I sent her a nasty note.  I didn’t talk about her to all her friends online.  When I decided to pull the plug, I just did it quietly and without fanfare. 

One thing about Facebook that we need to be cautious of is that we are quick to react and unfortunately, nobody sees our facial expression or tone of voice when we “speak” online.  Without hearing a sound, we read someone’s words in our head in the tone of voice that we expect they would be using if they were in the same room an arm’s length away.  And that can get us into trouble.

There are a plethora of quilt groups on Facebook, and it can be a lot of fun to be a part of one… or two… or three.  Find a group that you think might be a good fit for you, and click to join the group.  Spend some time reading through the posts before you do anything.  Get a feel for the group.  What are they like?  What are they posting?  Read the group’s guidelines not just once, but several times.  If you agree with what you read and what you see, then introduce yourself to the group; just don’t come on too strong!
Every Facebook group has a feeling to it.  Some are chatty, some share a lot of news, tips and suggestions.  Some groups want to see every quilt you have ever made, and others are more finely tuned to a particular style.  Some groups feature a BOM (Block of the Month), and some do swaps.  But be careful!  You are likely to be carefully monitored if you agree to participate in a swap, and if you don’t follow through, it might just make it hard – if not impossible – for you to ever join a group or swap again! 

Think before you post.  Don’t react too quickly.  Don’t insult anyone, be kind, be a good listener, and always ask yourself these questions:
If it isn’t, then proceed to the next step:
Enough said.

Published by Caron Mosey at Michigan Quilts! 2014.