For a bit over a year now, I’ve been regularly-ish (roughly every 2 to 3 weeks) creating content for my flosstube channel – The XStitching Runner. Similar to this blog, my channel predominantly is about cross stitch with some life stuff thrown in. Some weeks I’m full of enthusiasm and excitement. Other weeks not so much. But that’s life right!
As the title of this post suggests, this is all about the things I’ve learnt about Flosstube as a content creator. I’ve also published a video on my channel about these things as well. Check out the link at the end of this post for more!
1. It’s all about the numbers
To some extent, anything that goes up on YouTube is a popularity contest – regardless of what anyone else says. Over time, the more comments, shares and views you get, the more subscribers you get and the higher up the pecking order you go. Your content is recommended more to others who may not of heard about your content and there’s a chance they may be interested in it and become another statistic. All of this is part of the algorithms (I’m told) of how YouTube works.
The other extent – in my view – is personality and what your intentions are for your channel. There are millions of wonderful creators out there and every single one of them brings a unique twist to the table because of who they are. It’s their personality we are engaging with, their life experiences and their ability to convey a message to camera. This – at the end of the day – is what the numbers are measuring, to enable your channel to grow and potentially make money out of it, if that’s something you’re interested in.
2. Personality and confidence
I have gained more confidence in presenting to camera since I started my channel and it’s had a positive impact on my professional life. Professionally, I spend 99% of my time in front of the computer and 10% of that time is spent presenting training via Microsoft Teams. I have become more comfortable in front of the camera and speaking up in meetings. I haven’t however, increased my conciseness. My flosstube episodes average 40 minutes – usually 60 minutes. I waffle a lot and I have a lot but not a lot to say about cross stitch. I have this feeling of needing to bring something different to the table nearly every time I sit down to film. I don’t want to get stuck in the ‘cookie cutter’ mode of the flosstube recipe of each week showing how much progress I’ve made on a project. What finishes I’ve done and any new starts made.
My episodes are raw with limited editing. Which is probably why they go for so long! My episodes are an insight to who I am and what I have to say and share with anyone what I’ve been up to with my life and a bit of cross stitch.
3. Knowing my ‘why’.
The down side of trying to bring something different to the table nearly every time I sit down to film is that I have lost sight of what my channel is about. It’s still very much about cross stitch, but I’ve lost the focus of trying to promote my own patterns and my own business – Hot Cross Stitching. I’ve for a little while, forgotten about having fun and improving my ability to be concise and focus on the stitching.
Additionally, over the last month or two – perhaps longer – I’ve started to do a ‘welcome to Country’. It’s an Australian thing that is done at the start of many sporting events and meetings that happen in the public service. It’s possible that it happens in other situations as well that I’m not aware of. The welcome to Country is an acknowledgement of the Indigenous Australians who are the traditional owners of the land we call Australia and the region/area that an event or meeting is taking place. The welcome acknowledges their leaders and elders from the past, present and emerging. The importance of doing this is to aid in the reconciliation between the Indigenous Australians and everyone who has come after them and taken over the land.
Since I’ve been doing this acknowledgement, I feel like it’s unfortunately hurt my channel. I really hope it hasn’t been the case and that there are other factors that are contributing to the downturn in numbers I’m seeing for my channel. I also feel that it would be quite shallow of me to stop doing this, all because I’ve become so focused on the numbers instead of what my channel is really about. Cross stitch and trying to build my side-hustle!
4. Technology and lighting
I have a love/hate relationship with technology and related devices and my boyfriend has been fantastic with trying to help me out with it where he can. Over the last 12 months or so, I’ve had issues mostly with the sound and it not being loud enough. Depending on what camera and microphone combination I’m using, sometimes the sound will start to lag after a few minutes and I’m yet to figure out why. I want to know why, because the little camera I’m thinking of with this problem is really cool! It has a ring light as part of the camera. It’s compact and my eyes feel a little funny after looking at it for so long.
The funny thing is that at times I feel like it’s a huge production with all of this equipment and product around me to help make the magic happen – a little like the image below!
Then there are times when I remember to try and keep it simple – to the point where I’ve contemplated filming from my phone. My biggest problem with this is storage and the joys of connecting my phone to my laptop to reduce the problem.
At the end of the day, I need to go with what works and pick my timing to do the filming!
5. Craft-avism and stitching challenges
It’s activism via the mode of crafting. As a viewer, I’ve seen this to be quite a fickle thing in the Flosstube world. Over the last 12 months or so, Flosstubers have:
- Rallied against the owners of the platform Etsy because of the fees that sellers have to pay to use the platform. Resulting in minimal profit margins. The irony is that the people who talk about rallying against Etsy, tend to shop there exclusively if they’re shopping online!
- Raised awareness of the importance of bees in the ecological system by designing and stitching many bee related projects.
- Supported the LGBTQI+ community by stitching things designed by people in the community and talking about the challenges people in this community deal with and face daily.
- Supported Australia’s black summer of 2019/20 by donating money, designing charts that have proceeds that go to specific Australian charities and stitching Aussie patterns, to name a few.
- Participated in a huge variety of stitching challenges to keep motivated and see progress in the variety of projects we have.
I’ve even become a joiner in some of these challenges and been a supporter of some of these events. I’ve set my own challenge based upon the Australian Football League (AFL) for this year and some of my projects have gotten a lot more attention than I expected! I’m also participating in the 22 in 22 – 22,000 stitches on a specific project in the year 2022.
I still have a long way to go with this flosstube thing! At the end of the day I just need to be me and remember that I will never be everyone’s cup of tea and that’s okay! I will find my feet and have fun while I’m doing it. Because my main goals with this blog and the flosstube channel is to build a brand that is leading to bringing people together from all walks of life, who have cross stitch in common. Who find peace and enjoyment by siting down and stitching and connecting with others who enjoy cross stitching as well, and can learn organically from each other.
The biggest dream is to have two places where people can come to connect and stitch – in the country and at the beach. The places will be able to host stitching retreats that can be for a week or a weekend. People can come and go as they need and participate as much or as little as they want.
I hope you’ve found some entertainment in all of this and learnt something along the way! In the section below, there are some links to my channel and related topics that you may find interesting.
Until next time,
References / Further reading:
Aboriginal Australia map – Shows the different countries that make up Australia. This particular blog is written in Canberra – Ngunnawal (pronounced Nunawal or Nunawol) Country.
Hot Cross Stitching website
What I’ve learnt from flosstube so far – my flosstube episode this post is based upon