Social Media—My History


Back in April, I wrote a blog post called Meeting New People. This post was about my journey from being a Alaskan mother of three who made quilts to an artist who exhibits, teaches, and lectures.

Social Media has been part of that journey.

Most of the comments relating to the blog post Meeting New People were very positive.

Still, I must mention Aunt Carole’s response. Here is what she said, “Wish there were more hours in a day. Would rather spend the time creating than at the computer. Sorry to be the naysayer but finding balance is the hard part.”

This is totally true. Social media can be a time suck and a distraction from what we really should be doing with our lives. Which brings me to a point of clarification. I don’t really CONSUME social media, I USE social media in the same way a small business, which I am, might use social media to connect with clients, contemporaries, and opportunities.

This post is focused on my history with social media. The next post related to this subject matter will be about how I currently use social media in relationship to my art.

I am not an early adaptor of technology. I do not know how our T.V. remote works, and I have no desire to learn. I can read a book instead.

Still, I knew that I needed to get with it on this front, so I did. In 2012, I created a Facebook Artist Page which more or less sat there. I even gave it a kind of silly name—Maria “The Stitcher” Shell.

After almost a year of procrastinating, I decided to treat my Facebook Artist Page like a starter blog. Every day or so, I would share what I hoped were interesting posts—little bits about myself, my work, and my surroundings. Like any new habit, it was a start and stop situation. At some point, I realized I enjoyed the challenge of being interesting. I will write more about that later, just know that is really the whole of social media for me—BEING INTERESTING. For now, let’s move on to the blog.

In the wee hours of 2012, I made the leap and wrote my first blog post. My blog, as you know, is called Tales of a Stitcher.

After having paid two people to build two separate websites and then watch each site sit stagnant because I did not know how to use WordPress, I decided to learn WordPress by writing my own blog. Facebook was my gateway—it gave me the courage to start the blog.

Like everyone else, I had two readers in the beginning. Blog writing is a weird thrill. Maybe like streaking? Which I have never done, but I imagine people do it because complete exposure of yourself for just a flash could be strangely thrilling. That is what blog writing is—every time I hit publish I am sending the written version of me running down the street naked. Or at least that is how feels.

368 blog posts later—over the hills and through the woods— I am still at. It has been almost five years!

With my new knowledge of WordPress, I could now, with the help of Kim Bruce, build and maintain my own website. This was HUGE.

My Instagram account is also called Tales of a Stitcher.

In 2016, I decided to do a year long project to celebrate my 50 birthday. I wore only clothing I had made for 466 days—the first 101 days were in a bad location. My youngest son was my photographer.

Every day we would take a photograph of me in the middle of the road we live on. You can read about that experience in the following blog posts.

Project Every Day
Documenting Project Every Day

I posted an image of myself on Instagram every day of that project. Well, sometimes I got behind, but there are indeed 466 images of me in order on Instagram. This is really how I got into the habit of posting daily on Instagram.

I really, really wanted to continue using Instagram as a place for me to post daily images of whatever daily art project I am working on. I LIKE using Instagram that way. So, I started another daily project. This time my goal was to post a daily collage.

This is even harder than Project Every Day! I am currently so behind you might even think I have quit, but I have not, and I plan to rally in the new year.

Somewhere in the middle of all this, I wrote a book

To help promote the book, a friend suggested I focus my Instagram information on my quilt making.

It was good advice. Thank you Deborah Boschert.  I moved my daily art project to a second Instagram account called cutsthingsup.

And that is where I am at. What about you? What is your social media history?

Up next is the blog post On Being Interesting—Social Medium & the Artist. Stay tuned.

This entry was published on December 9, 2017 at 4:57 PM. It’s filed under Thoughts and Opinions and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

10 thoughts on “Social Media—My History

  1. I struggle to keep my blog going…much to a few friends consternation. Some days are just days, I savor the unplanned play time, but it does not make for interesting reading! Nor do I like to post on FaceBook about every meal I eat or bread I bake.

    You have made remarkable progress! I am a fan of your work and have thoroughly your book!

  2. Carole on said:

    I have found at the age of 77 that everything takes twice the length of time to accomplish much. When tasks are finished I reward myself by either writing or stitching even if it is just hemming a pair britches for my dearest friend and husband Jerry, your uncle by marriage. I resent intrusion of junk mail, political junk, or things usurping the time I have left in the day; so I distract with esthetics I find on intriguing computer sites and Facebook imagery from my artist sisters and then turn the computer off until I have to delete and unsubscribe junk. With children far away I don’t dare allow their messages to go to the spam folder accidentally. It is midnight before I know it and the heating pad awaits. My patience wanes for teaching and travel now is not worth the stress. I feel fortunate to have seen much of the world via the children’s residences and am perfectly content to stay at our new half-sized cottage in delightful sunny SC winters swapping AC in summer where our community pool’s adult swim is perfection. All lI can say is you must sleep fast. I admire what you accomplish and take the time to catch up with your endeavors that fascinate me no end. Thanks for another year of artistic stimulation. As a result, my raggedy hemmed blue jeans sport lots of color now!

  3. “I wish I could tell everyone about this sandwich” – oh my goodness I had quite the laugh at that cartoon you posted! Social media is a time suck and I have been trying to focus on my blog and Instagram (when I remember to post and check). I still check Facebook, I guess out of a sense of obligation to see what the latest “sandwich” my FB friends are consuming 😉

  4. Jo Vandermey on said:

    I have a love hate relationship with Facebook, Instagram and my blog. But I do love the people I have followed and got to know in someway through this media thing.
    Through this media I met you on line, I met you in Houston at SAQA’s reception and at your book signing. And then when I get home I was given some magazines and more Maria Shell! I guess I would like to thank you for putting yourself, your art and your personality out there. If you didn’t put yourself out there I wouldn’t be inspired by and through your work. I read your book twice over in the past month. I’m clearing the decks to buckle down in the new year to use that inspiration to find out who Jo is …. Partly do to how you and other artist share your journeys so openly and freely!
    Thanks Maria!

  5. I live alone, with my Sami dog, and my only hobby is quilting, which I do to excess. Sometimes I go for weeks without talking to another person in person. I’m not complaining, just explaining. My blog is a way to express myself and leave a record of my quilting adventures but I do have problems coming up with things to write about in my little sheltered world. I enjoy reading about other quilters and sharing with them. Thank you for posting.

  6. Maria – you are among my “first” blogs to follow, which makes me smile! I started my blog in 2012 also, at the urging of my daughter. She said to me – “Mom, you go to the internet and search for ways to do things, and end up reading great blogs for ideas; you SHOULD write one because you have interesting things to say”. So, that was my start. I had been using Facebook for several years when I started my blog. You are right about it eating up your time. On my blog, I tried to keep it focused on “quilting and other stuff a grandma might do”. I am also at my 5 year mark, with 417 posts. I had a friend email me recently to see if I was “ok”, since I hadn’t blogged in over a month. She spurred me to action. I had been traveling, and then “life” got in the way! I think I would rather go sew some days than post, since nothing NEW is happening, and I can’t imagine readers want to keep seeing my zillion UFO’s. NO IG or Website for me.

  7. Maria,
    I like using Instagram as a way to hold myself accountable for doing something creative every day. I have a work account and a personal one. I try to post some progress on one or the other or BOTH (those are good days!) daily.

  8. I post on my blog usually Monday thru Friday. I don’t know how to use Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. I started my blog 2/1/10 and it has helped me get more done because I always need to have something to post the next day. I have also made wonderful blogging friends. I mostly stick to quilt making, but throw in home repairs, being a roadie for my nephew’s band, baking cookies, a little bit about my job, and knitting to spice it up a bit. I am no expert and sometimes I have to ask my readers on how to do stuff, but I look forward to posting and reading the blogs of my buddies.

  9. I know it’s a cliche, but using social media is a balancing act. I like the way you have specific goals and a definite plan on what types of posts you make on each platform. It helps your readers know what to expect from you!

  10. I found you through your blog (well, through a link on another blog to your blog) so thank you for starting one! Ha, it IS a bit like streaking. One big flash of yourself to the world, altough that’s a tiny window into who you really are.

    I started blogging as a way to be social with other knitters I knew (this was pre-Ravelry) who also had blogs. And because I have a odd little streak of exhibitionism and it gave me a small thrill to write a public journal. But it IS time-consuming, especially because I generally edit my posts multiple times before going live. Some I never post.

    I started using Instagram this year also as a way to connect with friends, especially friends who kept demanding more kitten pictures. I take a LOT of pictures and I like to share them, so honestly that’s been a very good forum for me. People can take or leave what they want. I wish it had better text capabilities but then I’d probably spend too much time editing that, too.

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