I Can Do This And So Can You
There is a growing culture of Makers in our country who are not only expanding and honing their talents but who also want to share their experience and knowledge with you. The result is multiple media streams that demystify projects making them doable for most of us. Maker projects cover almost any topic and vary greatly in their goals; some are artistic expression, others are about saving money and a large subset focus on being environmentally responsible.
Whether it be art, cooking, home improvement projects or just simple crafting I find that too many people don’t have enough faith in their abilities to take on the challenges. Most people will just pay someone to do the job for them or admire the talents of others with mumblings of, “I wish I could do something like that.” In most cases you can. Of course there are things you may not have the talent to take on but in reality a lot of projects that look complicated are doable once you break them down into smaller bites. So what does this have to do with technology? I’m getting to that.
In the past decade or so we have seen a Maker movement growing in this country, although I think of it more as a Doer movement because we aren’t always building from the ground up; sometimes we are fixing things or modifying them to our needs. The recession seems to have magnified this movement as fewer and fewer people can afford more consumerist routes to what they desire. Coupled with and enhancing this movement is the geometric growth of social media. Social media has created a culture where we share everything; sometimes this is very, very bad but sometimes it’s fantastic because out of this desire to share has come the sharing of knowledge and processes.
Websites like Instructables.com and Makezine.com create virtual environments where people can share their projects and ideas with others. In the case of Instructables they come with step by step instructions for you to replicate their work. If you knit or crochet there is Ravelry.com, an online community that shares patterns and instruction with the community that helping to keep your motivation up through chat, project swaps and challenges. In addition to the dedicated sites simple searches on YouTube can uncover thousands of how-to videos covering almost any subject. Right now my youngest daughter’s favorite is Nerdy Nummies where the host does geek-themed baked goods. The point is that there is something out there for everyone. Of course if you aren’t a digital person there is always your local library – I guarantee our catalog is filled with how-tos on nearly every subject under the sun.
In the end each person has to answer for themselves whether the effort and time is worth the cost savings and personal satisfaction. What’s important is that people answer that question from the standpoint of their own values, not whether they are up to the task. Support is out there and our digital culture is helping make it more accessible and supportive than ever.
Other maker / crafting websites not mentioned above.
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