Saturday, 28 July 2007

More thoughts on ravelry and how it is not like MySpace (thank God)

I'm going to be doing a bit of this over the next few days, I think, writing about ravelry. So if Ravelry either doesn't interest you or you don't want the spoilers or you are insane with jealousy and not coping, now might be the time to tune out.

OK. Here's the thing, I quite enjoy a couple of fairly well known knitting podcasts - Lime and Violet and Stash and Burn. I also love Brenda Dayne's Cast On, but, you know, who doesn't?

The first two, if you don't know them, are hosted by two women each. They're each radically different in style and often content. Lime and Violet are outrageous, veer wildly off topic all the time and can get a little bizarre. Nicole and Jenny on Stash and Burn are almost the antithesis of this. Their shows are well structured and considerably shorter.

I like them both for different reasons. Some days I want the outrageous and bizarre world of L&V. Somedays they make my head ache and then I turn to Jenny and Nicole for interesting and insightful discussions on stash management or how to make yourself finish projects, that kind of thing. These shows make my bus rides and housework a lot more enjoyable. I've been listening for a long time now and feel like I know them a bit. The podcasting medium is like that. You're listening to friends having conversations.

This does not mean they are my friends.

I've found them all on Ravelry and have loved being able to look at their WIPs and UFOs, see photos of them and, gasp, figure out whether they're actually on line or not. Sure, I can do this via their blogs but until today, I've never actually looked at their blogs. I don't know why. I just listened to their shows and left it at that.

I noticed that the big names out there, including the Yarn Harlot, have hundreds of friends on Ravelry. I thought it was weird. Aren't friends people you either know or, in the case of blog readers, people who at least have some contact with you via your blog or theirs? Just because you comment a lot on the Yarn Harlot's blog, doesn't really make you her friend, does it?

I thought about it and decided to add Miss Violet to my friends list because well, she has a cool photo (she's a goth) and I will be watching her WIPs and UFOs with interest. It felt just a little bit sycophantic though. I'll probably go back in a moment and add Miss Lime, too.

If you think about it, on Myspace (which I loathe) you can add bands and other celebs to your 'friends' list as a way to keep up with what they are promoting or communicating. Cool, if that's your thing. If the Yarn Harlot was on MySpace, I'd add her to my list. But Ravelry (correct me if I'm wrong) isn't a place for the big names in our community to show case their work. We're all there to share ideas, lust over goodies and play together. See the difference?

This subject, or something akin to it, was eloquently raised over at Chronic Ennui. Ravelry is bringing a new level of intimacy to our online community. Instead of just listening to the podcasts and reading the show notes,we can kinda hang with them now in a way we couldn't before.

It's a new world!