I've spent my summer reading. More specifically, reading books on how creatives run businesses, what they should know, what school doesn't teach you, etc. You can see how I landed here. It's the summer of 2020, opportunities are bleak. Things I counted on, as you can guess, did not pan out. Any prospects of "work" are limited to a desk, screen and video camera inside my apartment. This is far from working on the desk and screen within in a office, with your boss only ever catching you scrolling on Instagram during your breaks.
And I think to myself in a cliche - "Maybe I shouldn't wait for opportunities, I should create them for myself". And so, I willingly went down the rabbit hole of what opportunities, for architects, designers and creatives meant, in a virtual world, when you can be most "productive" by sitting at home. I read books, listened to podcasts, watched Instagram lives, and continue to do so, as I try to understand what potentials we have.
The one big distinction that separates architects from their creative counterparts like graphic designers, artists and fashion designers, on social media, is how far a digital presence can take you. For our counterparts, it holds the possibility of clients - People who chance upon your profile, love your work, and end up either buying their available products (like art prints or clothes) or commissioning them for work. Great ! Good for them.
How would this set up work for architects ? See a profile, love their work, pin it to your Pinterest board(maybe) and that's it. The conversion rates of 'followers' to clients is very, very low. The distinction also stems from the fact that we provide a service, not a product. While graphic designers also provide services, their services are rooted in the digital medium, while ours is not.
So is the digital presence of architect pointless ? Not really. A presence helps build credibility, amongst your peers, colleagues and friends. It puts your work out there, onto people's feeds, in a much more casual, matter of fact manner. I've always heard that an architect's first clients are usually their from their own circles, which means word of mouths matter. And in the era of Instagram, I guess shout-outs, story shares and tags are the new word of mouth.
As we become more dependent on virtual means of communication (thanks, COVID 19), we MAY move towards a slower, but better translation of followers to clients. Or, at least, for the sake of all my summer efforts, I hope so.