Each Wednesday, I usually write a post from my dissertation.
I conducted my interviews in 2008. I focused on scrapbookers who scrapbook conventionally or traditionally (i.e., with paper, adhesive, and printed photographs). I did not set out to explore the world of digital scrapbooking. I had no idea how extensive this side of scrapbooking was at the time and my primary source for respondents was through a local scrapbook store that did not do anything with digital (or digi) scrapbooking.
Regardless, I did have some respondents who had digital scrapbooking experience. Some do a little of each and others combine the two doing what is called hybrid scrapbooking. Only one of my respondents digitally scrapbooks nearly exclusively (she started out as a traditional scrapbooker and still intends to complete a traditional album she has started but plans to then only scrapbook digitally).
Most of my respondents are traditional scrapbookers and do no digital scrapbooking. Traditional scrapbookers may use a computer to edit photographs or type up journaling, but they still consider these scrapbooks traditional rather than hybrid. Most of the industry workers have little experience with digital scrapbooking because that is not the product they are selling. The owner of Scan Your Story has the most experience with digital scrapbookers because her business digitized photographs for people making it even easier to just create a digital scrapbook.
The owner of Scan Your Story finds that younger women are more drawn to digital scrapbooking compared to older women because younger women are more comfortable with the technology. Older scrapbookers in my sample support this respondent’s assertion. They mention they are “too old” to figure out digital scrapbooking on computers, though this is not true for all older respondents. Future research on scrapbooking should make sure to account for younger scrapbookers who may be overlooked because they are scrapbooking digitally instead of traditionally.
Respondents, for the most part, say they are drawn to traditional scrapbooking instead of digital scrapbooking because they like all the “stuff”—the ribbons, the stickers, and so on. Digital scrapbooking, though may include digital versions of these embellishments, is seen as just not the same. Digital scrapbookers say that it is less time consuming and easier than traditional scrapbooking and they are on the computer anyway. It is interesting that digital scrapbooking is described as easier than traditional scrapbooking because it requires computer knowledge whereas traditional scrapbooking ultimately boils down to just gluing pictures to paper. The imagined “simplicity” of traditional scrapbooking is one reason outsiders often do not view it as art.
Some respondents have no interest in learning about or ever trying digital scrapbooking. They see the computer as for work and do not want to work on the computer for fun, too. The lack of interest in digital scrapbooking among most of my respondents boils down to the process. Many enjoy the process of traditional scrapbooking and “getting their hands dirty” that they feel that is lost by digital scrapbooking. Others think that digital scrapbooks are “not as warm and fuzzy.” If scrapbooking is only about the finished product, then it would not matter what the process is to get to the finished product.
My respondents who have digitally scrapbooked usually are very purposeful. For example, one respondent makes a digital scrapbook of her blog (the blog company she uses allows the blogger to purchase a printed and bound copy of the blog posts). Another respondent makes digital scrapbooks as gifts and makes traditional scrapbooks for herself. Some respondents express interest in scrapbooking digitally but do not really understand the process. For example, they may have bought or been given software to make a scrapbook digitally but do not know what to do next. Do they just leave the digital scrapbook on the computer? Do they print it out themselves? They are hung up on the logistics. For example, if they are used to scrapbooking in a 12” x 12” format (as most traditional scrapbookers are), then they would need to purchase a printer that could accommodate that paper size or scrapbook in a different size altogether.
The point of this post is not to get into a digi vs. traditional scrapbooking argument. My interviews took place at a point in time when digi scrapbooking was becoming more mainstream, but was not quite mainstream yet. Despite the historical moment, I do think that there are traditional scrapbookers that do still have some of the same apprehension surrounding digi scrapbooking as my respondents.
Are you a digital, traditional, or hybrid scrapbooker? How do your experiences compare to my respondents?