There was a little kerfluffle over at Etsy recently over it’s decision to implement more aspects of social media into the shopping experience. People have varying opinions on how serious the privacy issues were, but while I think there was definitely an ‘oops’ moment, I’ll leave the harsh critique to others.
Their efforts to make themselves into something more akin to facebook did, however, make me stop and think about the dichotomy between a site created to sell artisan goods and a world living in 140 character increments.
For many, ‘handcrafted’ conjures an image of items made with care by someone who has taken the time to learn a true skill. Items made by someone taking their time, enjoying the process- creating something they are proud to finish, and hopefully someone else will be proud to own.
Etsy certainly hasn’t lost the image of being a place to find such things, but the dynamic of the site has changed as the site has become more social. It has been easier to find people and easier to curate collections, but perhaps a little harder to find an individual artisan voice in the radiating rings of “Circles.”
On a similar note, I’ve been reading my blogroll via RSS, and while it’s convenient, it’s a habit I’ve decided to give up. The feed-reader removes so much format and is missing the personal touch from viewing the post in the environment it was written for. I miss those little bits of voice – the writer’s equivalent of handmade.
The race to make content of all types appear faster, fit a trending hashtag and be readable on ever-smaller devices is surely having an effect on the creator as well as the audience. If you get paid per click, all you might need to worry about is a catchy headline, but what about the satisfaction from the creative process?
Wasn’t the handmade movement supposed to slow us all down a notch? Did that concept fly away with the failwhale when I wasn’t looking?