Hi, I’m an Architect, I’m here to help

Hey Architects… So there’s this new fangled thing out there called the internet. I bet you’ve heard of it, right? I mean you probably had someone in your office set up a “webpage” a few years ago. They put that up on this electronic thingy that anyone with access to a computer can see. Pretty neat. You’ve got that website up and running. Welcome to the future my friend. Oh, yeah, there’s just one thing: No one is going to that website anymore. It’s very pretty, granted. But it’s just an online portfolio isn’t it? Ah…purdy pictures. Yep, I saw those a few years ago, and now I’ve moved on. Your website is collecting the technological equilvalent of cobwebs (ie. world wide webs). – LOL, ROFL, LMAO, WTF, Pffttt.

You might as well fill a bottle with pictures of multi-family-garden-style apartments and chuck it into the East River. (put your card in there too)

IMHO the world has changed, and your 1990s flash graphics are lame. You know that rectangular palm sized device that everyone has, and uses for everything except phone calls. You probably have one in your pocket right now. An I-spentalot? Mine’s next to the computer. It has a green light flashing at me, which means someone just said something awesome and/or insane about me… Wait a minute, I’ll go check….bzz#….. nope, it’s just a message from my wireless company. Apparently my bill is overdue… Rat Bastards.

Anyway, there’s been a shift in the technology (IMO). It’s become less a way to get information & distribute information, and more a way to communicate with people. The internet is a giant pool of people talking about what’s important to them. Including, but not limited to, piano playing cats, farmville, what I had for dinner, and environmental sustainability. There’s a constant overwhelming stream of chatter, and passion, and metaphorical arm-waving and eyebrow raising going on out there. I think they call it Social Media. It’s just a new way to talk to people.

Sadly, Architects are technologically shy. We’re reserved, distanct, aloof, blah de blah, chicken shitty, and getting very old very fast. One sure way to become old and irrelevant, is to wait in a corner dreaming of heirarchy while the party passes you by. Sad, because, Architects are sooo interesting. We have so much to contribute to the community. We have the potential to lead. We have the training, skills, talent, and cool glasses. We should join the conversation, in what ever form it occurs in. So, set up a facebook page, set up a twitter account, IM, text, skype, blog, vlog, email everyone you know. Just let them know about yourself, your ideas, your profession. Go on, Talk it up.

So, tweet away Architects… I’ll start

Hi, my name is Jody, I’m an #Architect, and I’m here to help #architecture #ImaArchitect *oh snap*

Go on, ….*stepsdownfromsoapbox*




oh yea…

Apparently, they’ll interview anyone at the American Institute of Architects these days, Beacuse a month ago, I was interviewed about Social Media and Architecture. In other words, Clearly their standards are too low. You could check out the interview HERE , but it’s probably not there anymore. And, we all know you’re weren’t going to click on a link anyway, So I’ll just paste the interview below for you to make fun of.

Social media has become pervasive in our global society. What do you see as the benefits towards this move to digital networking and online communications? What about any drawbacks?

Actually I don’t see Social media in terms of benefits or drawbacks… I just see it as another form of communication. I try not to think about the pros and cons of it, or worry about crafting a social media marketing approach–actually I’d have no idea what that is anyway. I just try to talk to people. I try to tell my own story and I ask people to share their own.

When the public thinks about what an architect does, leadership and advocacy may not come to mind. What is one way social media can help educate people on the full scope of an architect’s role in society?

Not only do leadership and advocacy not come to mind with people, they rarely have any idea what an Architect does at all.

I don’t think Architects have done a good job of telling our stories. In fact (in my opinion), I think Architects have slowly faded into the background of society. We’re just resting in our Charles Eames chair, wearing our round glasses, and waiting on the phone to ring. We rarely take a leadership role in our communities. We aren’t shaping the development in our cities. We’re not fully engaged with the public conscience at all. I’m afraid that we’ve comfortably resigned ourselves to being defined by other people’s ideas and passions.

This all became clear to me a few years ago when I was laid off along with 30%-40% of my fellow Architects. Suddenly, the intrinsic value of Architecture seemed in question to me. So, I’ve spent the last 2 years rebuilding my own image, starting my own practice, volunteering in my community, blogging about my ideals at www.coffeewithanarchitect.com, and doing everything I can to talk to people about the value of Architects.

Social media has become a platform for this conversation; you’d be surprised how many of us are going through the same challenges. Losing my job may have been the best thing that ever happened in my career.

What are your favorite social networking sites, and why?

I’m afraid I’ve totally fallen for Twitter. It’s just like Facebook except without the people you know. Someone said that Twitter makes you like people that you don’t know, and Facebook makes you stop liking people that you do know. I think that’s about right. I don’t need to know how many cows my 3rd cousin has in “Farmville.”

LinkedIn is a glorified resume, but the groups can be interesting at times. But, there’s just something about the casual conversational format of Twitter that makes it easy to find people with common interests and “meet” interesting people.

I’ve been amazed at the generosity and sheer fabulousness of all my Twitter friends. But, I’m totally not addicted to it… Hey, you can follow me @INFILLnc!

What is the AIA doing in terms of social media that you feel is valuable? What are some areas of improvement?

I’ve been pleased to see the AIA become more active in Social media over the last few years. I’ve sat in on a few of the AIA chats on Twitter, I joined in on some great conversations on the AIA group on LinkedIn, and I’ve lurked around the AIA’s Facebook page occasionally. But honestly, the Architects are slow to join in.

Maybe the AIA could help convince us that social media isn’t a fad, it is the place where the public is talking about their lives. Architects should be interested in joining that conversation.

And for fun: Your Facebook page… anything on there we shouldn’t know or see?

Oh, I’m sure there is… Last week I posted a photo of the broken candy cane cookies I made and a picture of the blanket fort my boys built in the living room. I think if you dig in there far enough you’ll find a picture of me wearing a big bow tie and a beer hat with fireworks in the background… maybe, I don’t really want to talk about that.