Facebook has been brilliant for me. Lets face it, I wouldn't be here doing this now if it didn't exist. A few years ago I was quite happily going about the day to day chores of bringing up children, with a husband who travelled a lot and a feeling that one day, in the future, I might have to decide what I wanted to do when I grew up.
Having hand sewn cushions like mad when I was pregnant, a stitchy friend introduced me to online fabric shops and I remember my amazement at the sheer quantity and beauty of the fabrics that were out there, just waiting for me to buy them! It was a long, long way from my adolescent trips to our local fabric shop back in the 80's. I bought fabric and made the girls dresses (which they never wore) and then I started on bags. Just simple ones at first and being completely scared stiff of following proper sewing patterns, I started making it up.
I put a few of the things I had made on my own personal Facebook timeline but was conscious that a good proportion of my friends were probably bored stiff with my lastest purse and I felt slightly embarassed, as if I was seeking out praise. One day someone suggested I set up my own page. It was a completely unknown world to me and for a good three months I felt as if I was talking to myself as I had maybe 30 followers (all of whom I knew).
Then I did a giveaway! Now Facebook folk love a giveaway and I had recently come up with a tweed purse with a Liberty lining and a little bunting applique, it was kicking around at home not really being appreciated by anyone, so I reckoned I would give it someone who might.
That week I watched my 'likes' rocket. It was fun. People were saying nice things and that’s always good to hear. That was two and a half years ago and my order book has been full ever since. I am incredibly grateful, and bewildered, by the support I have found amongst customers and fellow page owners. I have made some good friends and come across some brilliantly talented people. Your support has given me the confidence to carry on doing what I love doing and to develop my skills as a bag maker, so much so that I am now teaching others how to make bags. Never in a million years did I see myself doing this even five years ago and I couldn't be happier.
Anyone with a Facebook page knows it can be a bit of a mystery sometimes, with its unspoken algorithms and diminishing 'reach'. I try to let this pass me by and I am grateful to have a loyal and supportive band of followers who stop me worrying too much. I certainly feel I should never complain, its a free service and there is still nothing to beat it for getting your work seen and for getting an instant thumbs up (or thumbs down) on your newest make. Other social networks spring up, earlier this year it was Tsu, but none seem to have the hold that Facebook has. How many people are still using Tsu? Let me know if you are!
Recently however, I have started to tire of the games Facebook plays with us. Losing 'likes' the second you post something is like having someone turn their back on you and walk off when you are mid sentence. When your posts get seen by only a tiny fraction of your followers, its hard to know whether it's Facebook or whether in fact everyone thinks you are boring. Then you get on a downward spiral, lose confidence and stop posting. I suspect these paranoia inducing methods are part of a strategy to get us all to 'boost' our posts by paying. Its strange that we all feel so outraged by this, businesses pay for their marketing all the time? I think it just feels a bit too much like a game, with Facebook making up and changing the rules whenever it feels like it. I'm just not sure if I want to play anymore.
I am certainly not leaving the party completely, just kind of hanging out in the kitchen for a bit. I will still be posting pictures of pockets and buttons over on Facebook and I will probably still sell the odd bag over there too. But it would be lovely if you joined me over here from time to time as well, I make a mean chocolate brownie, but if you follow my page you probably know that already. Emma xxx