What Level of Scrapbooker are You?

This entry is part 21 of 86 in the series Scrapworthy Lives Results

Each Wednesday, I write a post from my dissertation.

The beginning scrapbooker is just that, someone who has recently become a scrapbooker or who has never scrapbooked before in her or his life. Industry workers recognize beginning scrapbookers by the way their pages look. One industry worker says that “their first [page] always looks the same.” One reason this may happen is if the beginner took a beginning scrapbook class. This is the scrapbooking television show’s target audience according to my respondents. Interestingly, new industry workers report that they are more likely to work with beginning scrapbookers because the scrapbooker has not yet established a relationship with any of the other employees in the store. People creating only one project are almost always going to fall in the category of beginning scrapbooker.

Beginning scrapbookers can further be distinguished by age. A beginning child scrapbooker does not scrapbook in the same way that a beginning adult scrapbooker scrapbooks. One respondent introduced scrapbooking to her daughters as soon as they were old enough to do arts and crafts. Her pre-school aged daughter’s scrapbook looked like the art of a pre-school aged child. Her school-aged daughter began scrapbooking the same way, but now takes it very seriously and now scrapbooks more like her mom.

Beginning scrapbookers serve as a reference point as to what a not-very-good scrapbook looks like. Many respondents exclaim “do you want to see one of my first scrapbooks?” when I asked them what a not-very-good scrapbook looked like. I did see some of the books and they always look different from later scrapbooks.

Beginning scrapbookers may add new techniques and knowledge to their repertoire of scrapbooking skills. Eventually, beginning scrapbookers progress to ongoing scrapbookers, marginal scrapbookers, expert scrapbookers, or quit scrapbooking altogether.

Most ongoing scrapbookers take on the identity of a scrapbooker. Ongoing scrapbookers may do the following:

  • Try to get others to take up scrapbooking
  • Use scrapbooking terminology (e.g., cardstock, archival, photo-safe, journaling)
  • View the world as a member of the scrapbooking thought community
  • Seek out scrapbooking opportunities
  • Think about scrapbooking even when not planning on scrapbooking
  • Would rather be scrapbooking than doing almost anything else
  • Are as likely to scrapbook the everyday in addition to events and holidays
  • Shops for scrapbooking supplies just to see what is new rather than for a specific project
  • Attends crops

Not all ongoing scrapbookers do everything on the above list, but most do some of the items at least some of the time. Ongoing scrapbookers may progress and become expert scrapbookers.

Industry workers are typically expert scrapbookers, though the two are not mutually exclusive. Scrapbookers who become industry workers, may not start out as experts but quickly become experts as is required of their job. As industry workers, these scrapbookers are expected to keep up with the trends by reading scrapbooking magazines, learning how to use the new products, and attending trade shows. Industry workers are experts, but their expertise may be very broad or very limited depending on where they fit within the industry. As previously noted, most industry workers had little knowledge of the competing thought communities (or subcultures) (i.e., brick and mortar scrapbook stores, online stores, at-home parties). Expert scrapbookers are more likely to include cutting-edge scrapbooking techniques and supplies in their scrapbooks compared to ongoing and beginning scrapbookers.

Marginal scrapbookers are not necessarily marginalized scrapbookers (i.e., feel unwelcome in the thought community) but are people who are only marginally involved in the hobby. They have years experience as scrapbookers but have little knowledge about the industry. They may scrapbook very infrequently (a couple of times a year). They scrapbook what they have but do not seek out scrapbooking opportunities. Marginal scrapbookers tend to only think about scrapbooking when they are planning to or actually scrapbooking. Marginal scrapbookers are more likely to experience scrapbooking as an obligation or simply as one of many leisure activities they might choose among. These scrapbookers are more likely to discuss scrapbooking negatively in terms of others considering it a “nerdy” hobby. They also, more frequently, talk about the expense of the hobby. Marginal scrapbookers are event-based scrapbookers, though an event-based scrapbooker is not necessarily a marginal scrapbooker.
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