Posted in Knitting
December 2, 2009

Changing an industry

Kim wrote some really interesting posts last month about our industry association and total social media fail. I refer you to Twitter Fail (or How NOT to Lead an Industry Online) and its followup, Kicking the Collective Ass of an Industry.

One paragraph really hit me over the head. It was Kim’s ideal scenario/dream situation:

The TNNA board and show planners would sit down and say, “The business landscape has changed dramatically in a very short period of time. We need to do everything we can to support our businesses. A rising tide floats all boats.” (ETA: I have no reason to believe they haven’t said this. I just want this to be the obvious starting point.) They’d acknowledge the importance of digital communications and the tremendous opportunity they present, and they’d recognize that they themselves might not grok what all is going on. They’d accept the naysayers who bitch and moan about change and competition and they’d go forward anyway. They’d recognize that sitting around talking about dwindling show attendance and class attendance doesn’t actually address the problem. Further, they’d recognize that trying the same things repeatedly and expecting a different result is a sign of madness.

Kim has brought up a lot of great points in both posts about this situation, and is rather more positive than me (remember the Ouroboros of Suck?). But as I said in a comment on one of them:

I think the people using online media to create more crafters will NOT be TNNA et al. I have such reservations about them ever “getting it” that I’d have a tough time taking almost anything they did in this arena seriously. Their Twitter fail with you is just one example. If success in social media comes from having

  • street cred / respect from your audience
  • something to say (that is useful and not spammy)
  • a genuine interest in dialogue

then TNNA is not going to be on the forefront.

I would much rather buy, say, Social Media for Your Crafty Business by Diane Gilleland than spend 2 hrs at a TNNA event about social media because

  • I trust Diane and know she’s “in the trenches”
  • TNNA is so completely backward technology-wise that they’d have to come a long way to catch up before I’d trust their judgment on anything related. Seriously. The Flash website frontpage is just the beginning.
  • After the active hostility I’ve encountered from some (not all, but even one is too many) TNNA representatives, I can’t say I have a lot of faith they’ll take any suggestions well, no matter how excellent those suggestions are. (Kathy is a rare exception, and I am incredibly excited Beth‘s on the board now).

When immediate hackle-raising is the default response, you lose both your members’ goodwill and their ability to trust.

With that in mind, I have to repeat what’s been said behind the scenes more than once and by more than one person — maybe it’s time for a new industry association that “gets” it instead of banging our heads on the door they’ve barricaded themselves behind?

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1 comment

  • Virginia

    I’ve noticed this. But then again, it seems like this happens across the board in any industry.

    I honestly know nothing about TNNA. I don’t know any of the players, I kind of only vaguely know what it is (partially due to the lack of digital information about it) and am obviously not involved. But one thing I have noticed, with my local knitting guild (and we’re talking NYC here), is that at 33, I am the youngest person in the guild by a good 30 years.

    I am somewhat amazed that the guild actually has a website.

    Interesting points in your post (and in the others). I’m off to read them a little more carefully now.

    Reply to Virginia

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