Please remember that these are just random thoughts and I claim no expertise in these topics I write about. They just pop into my pragmatic / down to earth mind.
Does social media work? I understand the concept of a retailer putting out information on twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Google + and maybe Vine. What about architects. If you are a residential architect do you really think people go to Pinterest or look on Twitter to find someone to design their new home? I don’t think we currently have gotten to that point yet. I see these sites as ancillary / support sites to reinforce someones decision, but not a primary location that someone goes to for decisions. I still think a lot of the process starts by conversation / word of mouth recommendations. Potential clients talk to other people “We liked that house on the corner, do you know where they got the plans for that house?” Maybe they drive around just looking until they see something they like in a particular neighborhood and then track down the developer or a realtor selling in that area to determine where the plans came from?
The thing is the internet is global, so how do you view pictures of houses just in your area? When I search for “pictures of new houses in Durham, NC” it takes me to realtor’s listing of homes they are trying to sell. If you drive around, I would think you would assume if you saw something you liked since it was local there would be a resource to get that information and while the builder is probably local I would expect the designer to be at least regional.
So when we post comments on Twitter or post pictures on Facebook or Instagram who exactly are we trying to reach? I have had my own architectural office since 1987. If I had to define a niche for my one man office, I would say I do work for contractors and developers, designing and drawing plans for mostly commercial and retail services. So if someone is moving their retail store from Building A to Building B where are they going to look to find an architect to design and do the permit drawings for their new space? I seriously doubt scanning Twitter or looking on Facebook or Instagram for similar pictures of interior upfits is where they go.
I believe currently our webpages are our best bet. How you want your page designed or what image you want it to project for you, as the architect, is a subjective matter. Having a web page to me, is like having an up to date resume online.
Don’t get me wrong, I love social media and the opportunity it gives everyone to share ideas and make connections. I embrace technology. I checked on the internet and I have been on twitter since March of 2007. I got my first domain name in August of 1996. I got all the pieces of the puzzle, now I have just got to figure out how to put the puzzle together. Embrace the future. Use the new things that are available to you and don’t be afraid of change. The only constant thing in life is change, but I could be wrong.