When we think about communities, we think about groups of people that come together with some shared interest. A church body, a neighborhood, or a fiber guild/group are all examples of communities. There are more religious folks outside of a church. There are other fiber artists outside of a guild. But the church and the fiber guild both represent a pocket of people with shared interest within a larger body of related interests.
When we think of the internet, we think of something that connects us to the rest of the world. But this isn’t how it works. The internet is just like the physical world: full of pocket communities. Take for example, Facebook. Facebook is a pocket community. Not all individuals who use the internet use Facebook. There may be some cross-over between communities, like those individuals who use both Facebook and Twitter, but these are still two distinct digital spaces with different audiences.
When we talk about creating digital spaces for fiber arts, the number one question I hear is “How do I get people to come to my Ravelry/Facebook/website group?” The answer is, you don’t.
You first need to ask, “Who is my audience?” Then you ask, “Where does my audience hang out online?” You need to go to where your audience is already comfortable. If a majority of your audience is on Facebook, create a presence on Facebook. If they’re on Instagram, focus more energy there. If they are on Ravelry, you know what to do.
The truth is, there are pockets of fiber artists on all of these platforms, and more! You’re never going to reach all of the fiber artists online. But you can reach out to small communities, find the fiber artists, and develop those communities.