The other day I had a chance to sit down with Eli Cleveland to discuss what seemed to be our differing views of the online woodworking community. It’s no secret that recently there were some raw nerves exposed over what has been perceived by many to be a slap to the face of woodworking bloggers and podcasters. It appeared to many of us that our legitimacy was being questioned and we were being branded in a negative way.
The resulting volley of comments back and forth regarding this most current statement, and even ones previously, have served as a rallying cry for many to say online woodworking is stronger and more united than ever. But is it?
As one of the first woodworking podcasters on the scene back in 2006, I heard a lot of less than nice things about how stupid or crazy I was for trying something like a woodworking podcast. At the time, I would reach out to “established” media resources to ask for permission to use content or ask for advice and quite often there was never an answer or even more frequently, a lot of skepticism of what I was attempting to do.
But I didn’t let that stop me. I knew deep down, if I wanted to see an online show(s) like what we have today, I probably wasn’t alone. I could either sit back, wait and hope someone would come along to start it or just get the ball rolling myself.
So after 6-1/2 years of growing my audience, making SO MANY new friends and at the same time learning and then turning around and sharing as many of my experiences as an amateur woodworker with anyone who was willing to watch an episode. To hear something that sounded like it was calling into question everything I had done…it cut straight to the bone.
My first reaction was to see red and as I mention to Eli in the show, I like to think I can let cooler heads prevail, but it’s hard to contain that instinct to fight when you feel like your being attacked. And that’s some of what you’ll hear in today’s episode.
Let me set the record straight before anyone jumps to a conclusion about today’s show. It’s not meant to re-hash old grudges and continue to beat a metaphorical “dead horse”. Our discussion was an opportunity for two woodworkers who feel passionate about the craft and want to see the online community building up around it grow stronger.
Strength comes from trust and understanding, but to have trust and understanding, you have to be willing to realize not everything is perfect. Being able to recognize your perceptions and understandings on any given topic aren’t necessarily the right one, is a bitter pill to swallow.
When I first invited Eli to come on the show, it was meant as an opportunity for me to tell him how I thought he was wrong about both his comments and also his views of the online woodworking community.
After emailing with him to get things set up and then during our conversation before, during and even after the recording, I discovered we came together thinking we were ways apart in our views but ended up realizing we had more in common with what we want for this community than we may have realized.