Article by Alex Bimpson
Thursday 17 March 2011
In the modern digital age where the internet and social networking is becoming ever more important it seems that more and more people are using the social web in their daily lives. However, it was recently pointed out to me that Architecture students, compared to students on various other university courses, have been somewhat slow on the uptake of social media sites such as Twitter in their daily lives.
So, why use Twitter? Answer: to get noticed. It's all about developing your social reach, engaging with like-minded individuals and organisations, and building your connections.
I'm going to briefly run through what Twitter is and why you should be engaging with Twitter, and how it can benefit today's generation of Architecture students.
Twitter, unlike Facebook, is an open system where you can follow anybody, and they can follow you. Through a series of 140-character status updates, or 'tweets' every twitter user publishes links, thoughts and musings to the world. Many well known, and not so well known Architects and Architecture firms are already using twitter, and will post links and updates relating to what they're presently up to.
Famous firms and architects on twitter include @RemKoolhaas, @daniellibeskind and @FosterPartners.
Twitter's open nature means you can direct message any user, allowing you to engage with the Architects and organisations you might be following. Furthermore, you may find people engaging with you too - the nature of Twitter means that if your tweet contains, say, the word 'Architecture', anyone on twitter searching for Architecture may come across your tweet, and get in touch with you or respond to what you're talking about.
Twitter has changed the way in which we absorb news and information. It allows us to gain instant access to news stories, online articles, videos and blogs. Many of todays Architecture magazines and websites use twitter to spread the word of their latest articles. By following these companies, you can always be up to date and keep track of the latest news from a whole array of publishers.
Some recommended accounts to follow for Architecture news include be @BDonline, @ArchDaily, @ArchitectsJrnal, @architectmag, and @ArchRecord.
Twitter can be a good place to find Architecture competitions. In particular, the RIBA operates a competitions account, @RIBAComps. Definitely worth a follow if you're keen on design comps!
Twitter has become the new place to advertise jobs! Firms may tweet if they're looking to hire, giving you the advantage of being able to respond or get in touch before they've posted anywhere else. Sure, it's not necessarily a reliable way to go looking for a job, but it's all about keeping your options open.
The best way to boost your presence on twitter is to get active. Often when you follow someone, they may opt to follow you back. Tweeting regularly, messaging or mentioning other users, and retweeting the tweets of others means you are more likely to be discovered by other followers. Of course, writing interesting and relevant tweets, or linking to fascinating articles will make you a far more appealing person to follow.
At present, there aren't that many active Architects and Architecture students on twitter. This isn't a downside, it's an opportunity - get yourself out there now, and get yourself noticed!
Finally, it doesn't all have to be serious. There are many other uses for Twitter, such as following the updates of celebrities, news firms, or those trying to make us laugh with comedy. Some recommended users in other areas would be @Queen_UK, an amusing parady account impersonating the Queen, @engadget, gadget and technology news, @SmashingMag for graphic design articles and even your university, for example @UniofBath.