Over at DigiShopTalk, there have been several recent discussions about the commercialization of scrapping and the prevalence of creative teams. Part of that discussion led up to our challenge to scrap a layout without a kit. So I've been thinking about commercialism in scrapping lately.
And then in the last day I read two articles. First, there was Jennifer Wilson's from the desk article in the February issue of the DigiShopTalk Insider, in which she discussed how Facebook can be used in a positive way to promote digital scrapbooking businesses. The advice that really impressed me was this: "De-emphasize promoting/broadcasting by thinking of your customers before your bottom line." Her other tips were along the same line: provide great content for your customers.
And then (probably not 24 hours later) the Me So Scrappy blog post, Being a Better CT Member, showed up in my reader. This article said that a better CT member will promote her designer on Twitter and Facebook and will provide product links in gallery credits because gallery browsers will be much less likely to buy a kit if they have to go search for it themselves. The author, Sally Bouley, also gave tips on organization, working ahead, and scrapping what you love.
Because these two articles came through my sights one right after the other, I couldn't help but contrast their messages. Maybe you can argue I'm comparing apples and oranges (a designer's own Facebook presence vs. a CT member's enthusiastic support of her designers), but I think there is an important lesson about balance here.
Where does the line fall? Do great products sell themselves, or do buyers need to be bombarded by ads in Facebook and Twitter to get those sales? Certainly all products need to be marketed, but at what point do customers start to tune it all out? Or get turned off by it? As a customer, I actually find myself LESS likely to buy a kit if I see too many CT layouts - because after I've seen all that, it doesn't feel new to me anymore.
As a scrapper and a CT member, how much of my scrapbooking effort is about memories and documenting my life? How much is about learning and growing? How much of it is about play? How much of it is about promoting the designers? How much of it is about getting sales for them?
I'm on a couple creative teams, and I know it can be exciting, and when you really love your designer you enjoy any opportunity to help promote her (or him). It's great for people to have that kind of energy and generosity to go above and beyond their CT responsibilities (going beyond just making layouts). But I just wonder what message is being sent when it seems to be all about product, product, product, particularly from the CT side of things, since that hits close to home for me.
As a CT member, I actually think I can offer MORE than tweets and Facebook posts and direct links to products (I actually don't do any of those three things). I want all of my scrapping to be fun and personally fulfilling. I want to provide inspiration and tips to other scrappers out there, and I want to be inspired and learn from others too. I don't want it to just be about selling kits. I want it to be about creativity and imagination and growing. Heck, I guess I want it all.