Unraveling social networking

Another week, another survey, this time a snapshot of the top ten web applications as voted by around 3,000 participants from around the world.  Most of the entries are little surprise, with the likes of Gmail, Flicker, Twitter and Facebook all appearing as expected, but sitting at number five is an unexpected entry: Ravelry, ‘a knit and crochet community’ that offers a rather impressive user experience underpinned by ‘the usual search and Google map thingies‘, online shopping, project books, displays of finished work, pattern sharing, personal messaging and discussion boards.  Their own stats from Google analytics are supported by those from Alexa showing a rapidly growing user base, with up to a thousand users invited every day and a waiting list of over seven thousand.  Perhaps it’s time to reconsider that Wikipedia: speedy delete decision…. 

What makes this site so interesting, of course, is the thoroughly non-techie nature of its subject matter and the naturalness of computer use implied amongst its user base.  The way in which well designed sites such as this can draw together users from around the world and support their communities should have some very valuable lessons for learning communities.

One thought on “Unraveling social networking

  1. Rowin, this is really cool, and I will be sending it to my knitting/crocheting friends (although I’m sure they probably heard about it well before me).

    I’d be wary of getting too excited over the “non-techie” nature of the subject matter and what that might mean though: knitting and crocheting have become the young urban hipster hobbies of choice for the past couple of years: it looks like the vast majority of their users are in their 20s and 30s, with average age 37 and median age 35 (I still like to think of this as “my age group”, although I’m actually thirty-twelve ;-) – my point being that this is probably a highly technophile bunch of craftspeople – and my experience with my own friends who are into this support the idea). Also the vast majority on Unraveled only started knitting and crocheting seriously in the past couple of years since it became trendy. See: http://blog.ravelry.com/2008/01/17/who-are-ravelrys-users/

    However. There *are * still a goodly number of older knitters/crocheters, including a small number well into their seventies, so hurray! I’d really like to see some interviews with *those* users about their experience of the system.

    Neat link though, Rowin, thanks so much for sharing this :-)

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