Ravelry, a community site for knitters, really gets it right. Being part of a community takes work and time. The user must constantly recheck the site, engage with other members, add to the community. All of this takes time, one of the most precious commodities any of us have. Ravelry has over 267,000 members, all knitters or crocheters, individuals who are eager to spend their spare time knitting or crocheting.
Confession time -- I am an avid knitter. I knit at home, while watching television, while riding in the car. I even knit in public, on planes, as part of knitting groups. I seldom don't have a knitting project with me. Like most avid knitters, I have a complex lace sweater at home that I must pay close attention to lest I get it really wrong. I have a very portable pair of socks on the needles, a large all knit sweater that I work on in low light locations. As one project finishes, there are several others all ready and waiting to go. This is typical behaviors for knitters.
Why my statement that Ravelry gets it right. The site fulfills a number of knitterly needs. It offers a place to share pictures of finished and partially finished projects with an audience, lots of community connectivity, information on yarns and much, much more. It is not just the activities that can be done on the site that makes it so compelling, but it is the organization.
The site was developed and designed by and for knitters. An avid knitter is always pondering what pattern to use or how would a chosen pattern work in a different yarn that the one shown on the pattern picture. A quick trip to Ravelry -- they are seldom quick -- can provide endless inspiration. Since community members share their experiences, it becomes an important part of the knitting process to check and see how a pattern works or what has been another knitter's experience in working with a specific yarn. It becomes part of the process to check these experience. If other knitters have found that the pattern knits up large, it is nice to know before putting hours of good time and lovely yarn into a project -- I, for example, just made a hat that is very ample, a size smaller would have worked. I should have paid closer attention to the notes written by others who noted that it made up large. This is sharing of information and experiences is just what being part of a community is all about.
As more members come online in the community, and the database grows with evermore finished objects, yarns and pattern links both free and for purchase, I expect this site to continue growing and engaging its audience. An audience very busy knitting. The time spendt on the site must be fulfilling since it is time away from knitting -- time over 260,000 knitters have chosen to give. Now, that is a community site that gets it right.