17 July 2009
Are architects ready to tweet?
Sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Flickr share the ambition of taking the web beyond a surrogate publishing system and into the realm of an interactive medium. But how effectively are architects using their existing websites, and do the latest web 2.0 technologies have a place in architects' communication and marketing armoury?
A random selection of five practices from the online RIBA directory gives a crude but simple survey of architects’ own websites. One practice didn't have a website at all. The four sites I did find however had done enough to ensure that a search in Google for the name of the practice (and the word architect) did ensure they were returned as the top result.
One website was just a single page with a link back to the RIBA directory for more information. This one-pager was labelled with the once-ubiquitous words "website under construction" that I thought had long since disappeared from the web.
Of the remaining three sites, one was built entirely in HTML and the other two in Flash. The Flash sites look slick but have disadvantages. As Flash files cannot be read by text-searching robots none of the content within the site is searchable by Google.
The three fully formed websites all followed variations of splitting the website into "home", "about us", "projects" and "contact sections". The sites are predominantly text and image-based: one used slideshows but generally the images were static. My brief survey seemed to indicate that when it comes to web technologies the profession is not characterised by the phrases "ground-breaking" or "early adopters" .
None of the websites in my rough survey appeared to use an online content management system, which is the sort of built-in feature that is growing in architects' own websites and begins to nudge at the edges of the ideas behind the concept of web 2.0.
Twitter is one of the newest and potentially most ephemeral of these technologies. Other than BD's own news feed on http://twitter.com/bdonline, I found Su Butcher’s league table of architects’ Twitter sites at www.justpractising.com/architects-twitter-league is a good starting point to explore the medium.
Andy Marshall also maintains a descriptive list at http://fotofacade.com/?tag=architects-twitter-league which throws up some examples of potentially useful feeds including: http://twitter.com/_OpenHouse and http://twitter.com/RIBAEducation
But, you may ask, why would I want to tweet? Twitter is a bit like holding forth in an office meeting or over a pint except that the people listening are doing so because they have chosen to. At 140 characters, you may struggle to hold their interest, but you won't bore them. Whether you get a new client out of it I somehow doubt, but at least you will know you are not alone.
For more information:
- Spotlight Archive
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- Ojeu tenders website gets a makeover
- Could Newforma Project Centre clean up your desktop?
- Is wireless networking the best choice for your architecture firm?
- The software generation game
- Shine a searchlight on your site
- New year forecast looks cloudy
- What can ebooks do for your firm?
- How to kit out your home office
- A new bite of the Apple
- Making the best of software upgrades
- Conference points to design's virtual future
- How to navigate the cad file pile-up
- Getting it together
- Get the best from the 3D explosion
- Free yourself from computer slavery
- Making a virtual out of necessity
- Taking the first bite of Apple Autocad
- Bim adds an extra dimension
- Apple Autocad software looks fruitful
- Where did all the time go?
- Make sure you're not storing up trouble
- iPad has the right touch for Architects
- Know your building's carbon footprint
- Working Prototypes: 2010 Smart Geometry conference in Barcelona
- Time to explore the world of browsers
- Taxman will pay you to innovate
- Is Google Apps the solution startups are searching for ?
- Beware the pitfalls of new broadband
- What are the odds of defeating spam?
- Make the most of your resources
- Who says backing up is hard to do?
- Breaking away from the slideshow presentation
- Are architects ready to tweet?
- The paper chase is over - what now?
- Vector programs give 2D drawings the edge
- Smart Geometry 2009
- How to budget IT as recession bytes
- Let’s get physical, physical... rapid prototyping helps bring your projects to life
- Searching for the best tender search
- PDFs ready to enter the third dimension
- There's life in the old fax yet
- Don't let your computer catch a malware malady
- Don't forget your backups
- Where has my broadband speed gone?
- 2D or not 2D? Architectural modelling packages that offer you more
- How smart devices can make the office more efficient
- How green is my PC?
- Lomas Davies Twitter