This wonderful project has opened the entire world up to me.
I have come into contact with awesome people who all share the passion for fiber. Many are absolute fanatics about this particular piece of textile for so many reasons. Others are just learning of it’s existence. Also I am finding that many people have done a form of recreation of this garment. Having been told that there have been few that have taken it to the insane level I have decided to go, I am flattered. Bottom line is that there is room for everyone in this garment.
One of the questions that has come up for me is how did this worldwide following come to be?
This was a simple project that was not going to go beyond my door initially, so the answer is social media.
Just a few years ago, Facebook and twitter had not been heard of. We had Myspace and a few blogs. Before that it was ICQ, AOL and other instant messenger services. Before that there were bulletin board services. Now, there are very active social media networks.
It is possible to reach millions of people all over the world because all of them are interconnected is some way. I am able to connect and reconnect with one person across professional sites, research sites, special interest sites, and entertainment sites.
With this coverage, the project has become an amazing way to meet and talk with people that in real life, I would never even known existed. The really amazing thing is that I do not have to leave my home and I do not loose time away from the work the project takes to keep moving forward. The down side is that I do not get to travel to see the remarkable places that I can see represented by the map in my demographics program.
As an aside, A few nights ago, I was up very late and was able to talk to one of my contacts in Australia as well as a couple of my contacts in Germany and Denmark at the same time. So morning on one side of the world and a day later and evening on the other. Without social media it would be difficult for me to have been doing that.
The validation of the work I am doing with the research and other aspects of this project has given me such encouragement. Again, very difficult to near impossible without social media.
I believe that this part of our world is breaking down some of the barriers that were once impenetrable for a non-academic wishing to do serious research. I have been received graciously by many who specialize in textile studies, cultural studies, language studies, and many more. I have the ability to draw on the knowledge and test out theories that I would otherwise have been shooting into the dark with. I cannot thank these individuals enough.
One of the early difficulties I discovered with gaining information for research is that the cost for most papers I needed was prohibitive. This is one reason I refuse to sell my own documents. I believe knowledge should be free to any who would use it to learn or further ideas. I welcome others to look into my work and refine it or even debunk it as it helps me to learn as well.
There are also academic research paper clearinghouses that I have been directed to. These locations have published papers by various people and access is free. The wonderful aspect of these sites is it gives you a place to publish your own work and receive peer reviews. These sources of information are a valuable form of social media.
So, I used to hate the concept of social media. I have been shown through this project that social media has it’s uses. Staying in contact with friends and family is just one of many. The project and the ability to share the knowledge is so important to me and the appreciation of the ability to take advantage of this openness has made it all the more valuable.