Has the social aspect of scrapbooking is gone?

What is a digital crop?

As I mentioned in a previous post, working with software to create albums and other projects doesn’t necessarily mean that the fun social aspect of scrapbooking is gone.

A crop is any event where album-makers gather to work and share ideas.  Crops can also be hybrid—a few at the table working on traditional albums, and others working on laptops or a home computer.   A digital crop is a gathering of people working with their software either individually or in small groups—it is a chance to get together, create, and share ideas.  A digital crop could be held in a living room, a basement, a dining room, the lunch room at a school or workplace or at a community centre.  If participants are equipped with laptops, everyone works individually with a break for snacks, a meal, conversation, and maybe a demonstration or two from anyone who wants to share a technique or album concept.  Check that internet access is up and running (and accessible to guests) before inviting everyone over.  Ask collaborators or friends who’ll be attending to bring their photos in digital format already—on a memory card, USB key and so on—and ask that they pick a theme so they come to the crop ready to work instead of needing to scan photos or choose from hundreds or even thousands of images for the ones perfect for the project.

Why attend a digital crop?

Very simply—for the same reason craftspeople, artists and other creative types have always met up to share ideas and look over each others’ work.  I think of crops as modern versions of the old-fashioned quilting bee, where friends and family members met up for an afternoon or evening of quilting.  At a digital crop you can expect to share ideas, get help with a project, learn a few shortcuts or new features of the photo book software, and enjoy conversation and maybe refreshments if someone’s thought to organize some ahead of time!

Even now I sometimes have a friend or acquaintance who may mention she misses the social aspect of traditional scrapbooking. “It’s still here!” I’ll say.  We just have to make a few phone calls and invite people over—that’s probably the most time-consuming part as far as organization of the event goes.  At the crop itself, participants take turns working on a shared project that’s underway on a laptop or home computer. Or else we sit around the dining room table with our laptops in front of us like traditional scrapbookers do when they get together for a traditional crop night.   The idea is the same, and although the albums look different, the results of the endeavour are basically the same:   to work and learn alongside each other for a few hours in a row; to produce one beautiful collaborative project or a series of albums as unique as each individual gathered at the table.

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