subscribe
free e-newsletter free e-newsletter
product info
advertise
FAQ
SUBSCRIBE TODAY
for premium web access
comment

To Tweet or Not to Tweet?

April 2010

Increasingly, architects are tapping into social media to connect with peers and promote their work.

[ Page 2 of 2 ]

By Jessica Sheridan, Assoc. AIA

Although the number of social media sites continues to grow, one of the latest additions was created specifically for architects. Architizer (www.architizer.com) was launched in November 2009 and within three months grew to include more than 5,000 personal profiles, 3,500 projects, and 1,000 firm bios. Nicknamed “Facebook for Architecture,” the site was developed to provide exposure and networking opportunities for designers. “People don’t know where to go to find architects other than the Yellow Pages,” states Marc Kushner, site founder and principal of the emerging firm HWKN. “We need to carve out space and get architecture into the game. Potential clients are surfing the Internet, and we need to sit at the table, too.”

Moreover, the Architizer team — four founders and two full-time staff members — actively promotes the site’s content. For example, when one of their contributing editors posted a blog about kids’ play spaces, Architizer e-mailed, tweeted, and Facebooked the link to contacts in the “Mommy blog world.” Consequently, a number of bloggers and Twitterers linked to the story, helping create buzz about the projects. “Architects have a tendency to speak to each other about architecture rather than to those who would be interested in it,” says Kushner.

Rate this project:
Based on what you have seen and read about this project, how would you grade it? Use the stars below to indicate your assessment, five stars being the highest rating.
----- Advertising -----

Social media is not without its pitfalls. In addition to information overload, it can be tough to know when to clock out. “The line between my personal life and work are so blurred these days,” says Kimberly Dowdell, one of HOK’s bloggers, who splits her time between an HOK-issued iPhone and a personal BlackBerry. Many architects are turned off by the energy required to keep current on social media sites. Some see it as time taken away from billable hours for an effort that has yet to generate monetary results. “Online there is so much information, I don’t think people completely trust what they read,” says Jing Liu, principal of Brooklyn-based Solid Objectives—Idenburg Liu (SO-IL). “They need to get to know you personally before they give you a project.”

That’s not to say the firm isn’t benefiting from social media tools. Liu and partner Florian Idenburg are able to update their site (www.so-il.org) regularly because it runs off of the free, easy-to-use blog sof­t- ware WordPress. “We didn’t want anyone who is checking our site to be presented with a static image,” Liu says. Moreover, WordPress automatically sets up an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed, allowing individuals to subscribe and receive SO-IL news alerts. “There is a freshness to the site,” Liu says, “ and that is why people find it interesting, why they are believing in what we do, and, hopefully, how we will affect the profession.”

Liu thinks social media will gain momentum over time, noting that “the younger people who are in their 20s are very much in touch with the technology.” For now, the bottom line is that social media helps connect architects with the public and can lead to new collaborations and clients. Yet the jury is still out on whether it generates real, billable projects. “It has opened a whole new world for me,” affirms Plotnick. “A year from now, I hope we will have tangible evidence that social media has put us in the position to get more work.” Stay logged on.

 

Join Our Network: RECORD offers a suite of online social media tools

Photo Galleries: Share design work with peers and clients. We offer more than a dozen galleries, with over 10,000 images handpicked by record editors. Forums: Seek and offer advice on a wide variety of topics, including sustainable products, the professional title of architect, and best business practices. Profiles: Highlight achievements and personal interests, and network with thousands of like-minded professionals from around the globe.
Register at architecturalrecord.com/community

 

 

Jessica Sheridan is an architectural designer and editor in chief of AIA New York’s e-Oculus.

[ Page 2 of 2 ]

 Reader Comments:

Sign in to Comment

To write a comment about this story, please sign in. If this is your first time commenting on this site, you will be required to fill out a brief registration form. Your public username will be the beginning of the email address that you enter into the form (everything before the @ symbol). Other than that, none of the information that you enter will be publically displayed.

We welcome comments from all points of view. Off-topic or abusive comments, however, will be removed at the editors’ discretion.