Working Thesis Statement: Entrepreneurs are professionalizing the Do It Yourself culture through utilizing digital means to create small businesses.
Preliminary Exploration: Through Anderson's book, I have gained increasing interest in the Maker Movement in terms of the entrepreneurship. In my review of his Makers book, I review the means by which Anderson lays out his argument. I have read about several inspirational cases in that have given me insight as to the variety of fields in which amateur makers have gone professional. I am using the preliminary insights that I have gained as a basis for the rest of my research.
Relevance: The Maker Movement gaining professional pick-up is extremely relevant as the economy is having to adapt to the changes of digital culture and an online free market economy. The opportunities now available to entrepreneurs can make drastic long-term changes for empowerment of small businesses. It also empowers the idea of the American dream as individuals can easily use the resources available to become professionals.
Format: I would like to write a research paper accompanied by an abstract for submission.
Outlet: I have decided to submit a 250-word abstract to an International Conference with the theme of DIY Culture. The topic from the conference I have chosen to write about is DIY Careers: Social and Professional pathways.
Primary Sources - Data regarding Etsy business trends and historical information on Etsy success and failures. I also intend to research the transition from amateur to professional. I also intend to research the prosumer trend and the constructivist pedagogy.
Secondary Source (so far): Chris Anderson, Makers: The New Industrial Revolution (Random House, 2012).
Communities: Google+ community Makers, hackers, artists, & engineers; Goodreads review of Anderson's Makers
Social Proof: I have been following the communities listed above and plan on making assertive contributions as I ask specific questions to individuals instead of posting general questions to "the public." I have also been following Amy Burvall, who is a maker enthusiast but teacher by profession. Her association is becoming less relevant as her focus is dominantly hobbyist in nature and does not apply as much to becoming professional. However, my friend, Kristin Thornton, has recently achieved her 100th sale on Etsy as of November 27. Kristin crochets beards and caters to the long tail consumers who desire her selection of knitted beards. I plan on using her experience to demonstrate the effectiveness of DIY turned pro. I also hope to get more familiar with Etsy through our correspondence.
Next Step: I plan on getting more specific with my social correspondents and really get a more specific audience so I can decide if I really want to pursue Etsy producers and consumers. I also need to start working on my paper so that I can then write my abstract for submission. I feel that writing my abstract afterward and then submitting will be a more accurate summary of my final, polished ideas.