How Artists and Seniors are Taking Over the Web

It is always eye-opening the see traditionally non-technology-loving people embrace the web. Today we will look at how two groups are making the web their own: 

  • Artists & crafters.
  • Senior citizens.

First up, let’s talk about Etsy. Etsy is a site that allows two things: 

  1. Artists and crafters to sell their wares online.
  2. Everyone else on the planet to easily find ultra-cool art and ultra-cute crafts.

How cute, you ask? This cute: 

But I want to dig into why I find this so powerful, Here are a few reasons: 

  • Power to the People.
    It is one thing to build a community for tech geeks, such as Digg or Slashdot, it is another to empower knitters, painters and crafters to congregate online. It is a greater order of magnitude entirely, to enable them to make a living at it, as some on Etsy do.
  • Easy Dissemination of Small Things.
    Ever try to buy art for your home? It is difficult to find something affordable that doesn’t feel as though it had been duplicated a million times. Etsy allows you to find something more personal, something original, something small and one-of-a-kind,
  • Direct Access to the Creative Class.
    I have no studies to back it up, but I feel that we need more people who paint cute things than we need investment bankers. Browsing through Etsy brings another world closer to you. A world full of creative people.

In other news, The Wall Street Journal featured an article on Thursday about another traditionally non-web-savvy group: senior citizens. It seems that many are beginning to preserve their legacy by posting videos to YouTube. Some recount war stories, others share family recipes, and many others find their own way to share a piece of themselves with the world. It is amazing to think of the connections that can be made – especially from generation to generation.

Now, why am I writing about these things in the context of a media/publishing/technology newsletter? Because they illustrate why social networks, aggregation and the web are so compelling. These new tools are empowering people in millions of small, but meaningful ways:

  • It is powerful to tell the world: I am here, and I am special.
  • It is even more powerful for the world to recognize you, and say those words back to you.