you, me and facebook

design, experiences, just a thought, quilting

I totally blame it on the woman who showed up at our back door on a Sunday afternoon three years ago. We were hurrying to get our daughter ready for a choir performance. Our next door neighbor was having a yard sale when the woman asked her if she knew where the FunQuilts “shop” was.

Our neighbor explained what we have on our website. We do not operate a storefront and we only meet with clients who want to commission a quilt by appointment in our studio. The woman explained that she had driven for two hours to meet us and wanted to buy a kit. So she knocked on our back door anyway and asked us to meet with her and get a kit together for her. We explained that we were headed out the door and that we don’t operate a storefront. She persisted saying that she had driven a long way and that her local quilt shop (not a quilt shop we had ever heard of) told her that she could stop by our house anytime she wanted to. She seemed to think that we should blow off our daughter’s concert to meet with her. It was beyond awkward and she left angry.

People sometimes show up at our studio unannounced and others pull up in front of the studio, don’t see any signs and call us from their car trying to figure out how to get into our studio. Some people call ahead and want us to entertain their visiting mothers-in-law who are in town for a few days and others ask if they can just drop in for an impromptu trunk show. We used to agree to let people drop by but frequently found that they would stay for over an hour at times when we had deadlines to meet. Generally people understand when we tell them that we don’t operate a storefront and that we can’t always stop work to visit. Friends have suggested that we get a PO Box so people can’t find our house but the reality is that you can find most any address you want on the internet.

So when I joined Facebook at the beginning of last year I did so with the intention of connecting with distant friends and keeping up with events in my community. I figured that quilters would become fans of FunQuilts on Facebook and would have no interest in my personal Facebook page.

Then I started getting “friend” requests to my personal page from people I didn’t know. I started having flashbacks to the persistent woman that Sunday afternoon at our back door. Do I “friend” these people or not? If I “friend” them are they going to show up unannounced at my back door? Can I not have a personal life on Facebook? We’ve always had a clear separation between our personal life and FunQuilts but Facebook was really blurring all of that. I was very unsure how to handle it.

Sometimes I would “friend” people and other times I wouldn’t because I had just read an article that scared me and reminded me of the woman at my back door that Sunday afternoon. Every internet columnist said not to “friend” people you don’t know but I didn’t want to snub FunQuilts fans who decided to friend me instead of becoming a fan on the FunQuilts page. Then I worried about boring these people because I mostly put mundane information on Facebook such as what we had for dinner, what we’re up to this weekend or whether or not our daughter’s soccer team won that day. It’s stuff that family friends would care about but not necessarily a quilter I’ve never met.

Over the months I began to see how other quilters dealt with Facebook. Some use it as a way to direct traffic to their website, online store or blog. Others discuss both professional news and family events. Facebook helped me out toward the end of the year by offering privacy settings so I can share private family news with family members without boring everyone else.

So after thinking it over here’s my position: I’m going to put more FunQuilts news on the FunQuilts fan page this year so become a fan if you want quilt-related news such as what we’re working on, where we’re looking for inspiration, pictures of our latest quilt or where we’re teaching. If you want to know how my daughter’s swim meet went or who won the family Parcheesi tournament feel free to “friend” me and tell me that you’re a Craft Nectar reader. And know that if there more hours in the day and if I didn’t also have a child and business needing my attention that I really would accommodate everyone who wanted to drop by and chat.

6 thoughts on “you, me and facebook

  1. It is a funny beast, isn’t it?
    I made a decision over a year ago that Facebook is actually for my friends. Real people that I know and care to have know what is going on in my life. And who I feel comfortable seeing pictures of my kids. So I don’t use it to direct traffic to my blog/writing. Nor do I have a fan page. I’ve got enough on my plate and for now, this works just fine.

  2. First, I hope I didn’t freak you out when I sent you a Christmas card.

    Second, your quilt designs are so beautiful that I too would love to see your creative space if/when I was in your neck of the woods. But I would never intrude into your home space. If you had a public storefront, however, I’d be on a plane this summer!!

    And third, it really is amazing how inconsiderate people can be sometimes.

    You both are VERY talented.

  3. Good for YOU! In this time of instant communication and ‘friends’ some people feel that if you post (FACEBOOK, BLOGS, any social networking site) that you have ‘opened’ yourself up and have (or don’t ‘deserve’) privacy. Forget it. It is time to take it back. YES PEOPLE I have a life. AND some I’ll share and some not so much. Now shoo! and back to YOUR life.

  4. I usually just keep my personal FB page, personal. Anything related to my business or consulting I use my fan page. Have you ever tried moving your quilts on a strict networking site like http://www.stanfordwhoswho.com?

    Periodically they take their members and purchase their goods to promote to other members. You could be too busy for that, but if not, give it a shot.

    Tom

  5. Funny… People ask me all the time if they can come over and see my studio.
    They want to quilt on my long arm, teach them to longarm, shop my stash… many times they just want to come over and either aren’t making their agenda known or haven’t thought it thru.
    Im not really a business even and most of the time I hardly know them.
    Sure I have friends over… but aggressive strangers? no thank you.
    I have a facebook for some quilting but mostly for my 2 gal pals who live local, and high school friends. Im more inclined to twitter and text.
    I am however gonna run over to FQ and become a fan.

    My Stepson is graduating from the SAIC this weekend … I’ll be in town, are you sure I can’t drop in? … :)kidding.

  6. When you friend someone on facebook you are quite often opening yourself up not just to the person that you have granted access to your personal life but also their friends.
    In facebook you can create a “list” where you can customise what they can see as your friend on your profile (for example you block them from seeing your family photos). I would never call anything you put on the internet mundane its like they say in the movies it can and will be used against you.

    Sorry to sound preachy but I love reading you blog and I am wee bit concerned about someone stuffing you round. Hope it all works out

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