We are in the 21st century and living in an era where Cyberspace and Technology has outpaced the human mind enormously. The biggest gift of the online network has been expression- the provision of a platform to be able to communicate with the rest of the world. Today, Marketing is one area that relies to a large extent on social media, as it has provided unbounded access to be heard and noticed, which was earlier reliant on the passé and outmoded principle of ‘word of mouth’. The usage and dependency on the virtual world has increased manifold with the smartphone revolution. People feed on the Internet and are being fed by the Internet, and the trend is inescapable- either be seen or be forgotten!
The notion of being seen is easier said than practiced. It takes tremendous amounts of time, energy and sometimes money to be seen on the Internet. The term “word of mouth” is going through a metamorphosis of sorts with the coming of social media. People speak fewer words in a day than type on the keypad/ keyboard. Hash tags, hits, ratings, followers, shares and re-tweets decide what is to be seen and what is to be buried. This survival of the fittest is the imperative mantra to stay in the race, and it is only going to get bigger.
For much of the history of the architectural profession, Architects, just like Doctors and Lawyers, faced censure if they directly advertised their services, despite the fact that they required intimate knowledge of and deep immersion in the commercial world. Social media with its tremendous penetration has come as a boon to architects to have better outreach. Architects today are better connected, more reachable, and more aware of their surrounding trends, counterparts and competitors on global levels. Social media thus is not merely a marketing tool, but a vested power of cognizance.
These tools have changed the way people transmit and acquire information, and are very important in tracking industry trends, receiving feedback, and establishing direct communication with the users of a particular Architectural creation. This constant updating happens not on a day to day, but on a minute-to-minute basis. This untameable power of staying connected also leads to better pressure groups and lobbying activities, which are greatly beneficial to the society when social concerns are to be addressed. The end result may not always be favorable, but the power to be able to present a voice as a group is incredible. The petitions to save Raj Rewal’s Hall of Nations Pavilion are a remarkable case that proves this power of social expression.
Social media is definitely a blessing in disguise, and it is up to us architects to utilize the potential of this medium for optimum results, whatever our objective may be. The thumb rule of social media and online presence is simple- you are alive only if you are active.
Here are a few people from the fraternity from around the world whom you can follow: