LinkedIn for students

In my casual surveys of architecture students from first year to final, I’ve been surprised to discover how few engage professionally with social media. While Facebook is ubiquitous and many have Instagram accounts jammed full of selfies, there is little interest to extend this activity into the professional sphere.

This is the 5th of eight articles exploring the major social media outlets, how I engage with them, and how they might be of interest to students. An archive of the series can be accessed here.

Social media

LinkedIn
Warwick Mihaly
Connections: 382
Joined: April 2011
Total users: 100 million[1]

Purpose: LinkedIn is a virtual resume and professional networking tool. It also functions a little like Facebook, with a rolling feed of content posted by your network.

Community: As a business owner, I don’t get much value out of LinkedIn. I’m unlikely to be on the lookout for a new job opportunity in the near (or distant) future, and my welfare is not supported by an employer. I’m connected to many individuals within my network on other social media outlets also, however LinkedIn is not my preferred portal in which to engage with them.

These days, most of my new connection requests are from building industry suppliers who I imagine want me to specify their products. I have to confess I resent these, but am always happy to connect with the odd architecture student or graduate who sends a request.

Posting: As with Facebook, I rarely post directly to LinkedIn. Panfilocastaldi does so automatically, I occasionally make comments, and I’ve had a few direct messaging conversations. I see my LinkedIn network primarily as another audience for my blog activity, and an intermittent source of news.

Profile: When I first started using LinkedIn, I put in a lot of effort to fill out my profile: education history, past jobs, current projects etc. I think this dedication sprung from an obsessive compulsive desire to complete things, but my profile has become less current as I’ve lost interest in the platform.

For students: Though LinkedIn is best suited to the highly mobile, corporatised tech and finance industries, the same goal of professional networking still applies to architecture.[2] Use it as a companion to your traditional resumé, and connect with architecture studios where you might like to work. As with other social media sites, being active is the most important aim.

As an aside, LinkedIn doesn’t permit stalking in the way Facebook does, as it pops up alerts on your page whenever someone visits. Perhaps you can use this function to get noticed.

Good examples:

  • Petar Petrov. Graduate architect at Bates Smart (also a past student of mine)
  • Luke Bonham. Graduate architect at Metier 3 (also a past student of mine)
  • Kurt Ballener. Architecture student at Melbourne University (also a past student of mine), and always up to something interesting

Importance:
2 / 10 for me
7 / 10 for you


Footnotes:

  1. Leading social networks worldwide as of January 2016Statista; January 2016
  2. Between them, tech and finance represent around 20% of LinkedIn users. By comparison, the entire construction sector only represents 3%, of which I imagine architecture is an even smaller minority. Source: State of LinkedInVincos; 2011.

Image:

  1. LinkedIn, logo copyright LinkedIn. Composition by author.

Facebook for students

In my casual surveys of architecture students from first year to final, I’ve been surprised to discover how few engage professionally with social media. While Facebook is ubiquitous and many have Instagram accounts jammed full of selfies, there is little interest to extend this activity into the professional sphere.

This is the 4th of eight articles exploring the major social media outlets, how I engage with them, and how they might be of interest to students. An archive of the series can be accessed here.

Social media

Facebook
Mihaly Slocombe
Likes: 182
Joined: March 2012
Total users: 1.5 billion[1]

Purpose: Like the rest of the planet, I have a personal Facebook page littered with the occasional embarrassing photo from nights out on the town. I also maintain our professional Facebook page, whose primary purpose is to act as a virtual declaration of existence.

Community: Identifying my Facebook community is harder to do than on Twitter and Instagram. The likes I’ve received arrive from all over the world, which is intriguing, but then the engagement usually falls silent. More valuable is the backlink that pushes my professional posts onto my personal page. This means my friends (most of whom come from other walks of life) see my posts, hopefully creating a slow burn that might one day lead to a commission.

Posting: I rarely post directly to Facebook anymore. My blog posts do so automatically, which represents around three quarters of my Facebook activity. I also push a lot of my Instagram photos to Facebook, and the occasional business announcement. While Twitter and even Instagram can handle repetitive posts, a Facebook community is unlikely to tolerate this. As a result, I keep my posts more stretched out.

Groups: I belong to one professional group only, not out of austerity, just lack of conviction. I think it’s important that we be on Facebook, but have found Twitter and Instagram better tools to connect with my desired communities. I should aim to be more active however. As my Facebook network mostly comprises non-architects, it can be a useful soapbox from which to preach the value of good design.

Procrastination: Facebook offers an endless supply of procrastination-worthy entertainment, but I’ve rarely found it to be professionally enriching.

For students: Perhaps the most useful characteristic of Facebook is the way it authenticates your identity. Like LinkedIn, it’s a way of proving that you exist and that you’ve done things. It’s also positioning itself more and more as a gateway service to the rest of the internet, making it almost necessary to belong. Professionally however, I’m not interested in knowing what you got up to on your 21st.

Good examples

Importance
5 / 10


Footnote:

  1. Leading social networks worldwide as of January 2016Statista; January 2016

Image:

  1. Facebook, logo copyright Facebook. Composition by author.

Instagram for students

In my casual surveys of architecture students from first year to final, I’ve been surprised to discover how few engage professionally with social media. While Facebook is ubiquitous and many have Instagram accounts jammed full of selfies, there is little interest to extend this activity into the professional sphere.

This is the 3rd of eight articles exploring the major social media outlets, how I engage with them, and how they might be of interest to students. An archive of the series can be accessed here.

Social media

Instagram
Mihaly Slocombe
Following: 38
Followers: 76
Joined: December 2015[1]
Total users: 400 million[2]

Purpose: Instagram is the visual equivalent of Twitter, in that my networks on the two platforms overlap a great deal. However, it is less news-driven and more portfolio-like. If an architect uses only two social media networks, it is most likely these two.

Community: Up until very recently, my professional and personal Instagram activities were rolled up into one account. With a substantial business rebrand underway however, we’ve split off the professional content into its own account. Like Twitter, my professional feed is restricted to local architects posting interesting work. My personal feed is more diverse. I follow friends, artists and furniture makers.

Posting: The output of any architecture studio spends a lot of time being incomplete, making it challenging to capture beautifully on Instagram. With our new account, I intend to intersperse ongoing and complete projects. This will hopefully achieve a healthy balance between glossy images and insight into our process. Architectural pilgrimages and travel in general are also very Instagram-friendly.

Likes: Since there is no searchable record of the photos I’ve liked, I can’t use this function as I do on Twitter. I use it therefore as it was intended: to tell people I like something they’ve done.

Procrastination: Instagram is the ultimate time-waster. The contents of either my feed or smart search function are easily accessible, immediately consumable and endlessly interesting. I occasionally find myself, late at night and bleary-eyed with fatigue, scrolling deeper and deeper into Instagram’s beautiful content. Use with caution!

For students: Use Instagram to develop your portfolio. It can be as powerful as a strong traditional portfolio, if not more so. In this regard, I’m intrigued by the exploitation of Instagram’s three-column thumbnail layout I’ve seen around the place: from all black and white, to the colours of the Pantone rainbow, to repetitive triptychs. Instagram is also emerging as a way for architects to advertise job openings, so follow studios where you might like to work. Instagram is a wonderful source of inspiration, particularly if you look beyond architecture to other fields.

Good examples:

  • Vasilii Zhelezniakov. A graduate architect and artist based in Melbourne.
  • Ben Schmideg. A graduate architect at MA Architects (also a past student of mine).
  • Sheng Yi Lee. A graduate architect and artist based in Melbourne.
  • Ab Yamani. A graduate architect and photographer.

Importance
10 / 10


Footnotes:

  1. Note: despite the date, I’m not a total Instagram rookie. My personal account has been going for four years.
  2. Leading social networks worldwide as of January 2016Statista; January 2016

Image:

  1. Instagram, logo copyright Instagram. Composition by author.

Twitter for students

In my casual surveys of architecture students from first year to final, I’ve been surprised to discover how few engage professionally with social media. While Facebook is ubiquitous and many have Instagram accounts jammed full of selfies, there is little interest to extend this activity into the professional sphere.

This is the 2nd of eight articles exploring the major social media outlets, how I engage with them, and how they might be of interest to students. An archive of the series can be accessed here.

Social media

Twitter
Mihaly Slocombe
Following: 157
Followers: 769
Joined: October 2011
Total users: 320 million[1]

Purpose: Together with Instagram, Twitter is my primary social media site. It’s my main outlet for architecture news and the virtual expression of my professional network.

Community: I keep the number of people I follow low, as I want my feed to be manageable and conversation threads visible. I mostly follow other local architects who are interested in the same things as me. I don’t follow major news outlets, as I access their content in other ways. I’d also rather read the articles already filtered by my network than the ones rolled out by Archdaily et. al.

Posting: My posts are almost always professional, I never tweet what I’ve just had for breakfast. I regularly tweet links to my blog articles, together with links to interesting things I’ve read or seen.

Retweets and likes: I retweet liberally, but use the like function sparingly. Retweeting lets me share other people’s content with my followers, but my list of likes is more personal. I use it to record important articles in a sort of ad hoc library.

Procrastination: I dip in and out of Twitter. I’ll spend a month religiously devouring the content of my feed, particularly when I’m contributing to the discussion, and then not touch it for weeks. Twitter is great on public transport and during solo lunches. It’s also my favourite way to attend a lecture – listening while simultaneously holding down a Twitter conversation with other people in the audience.

This is actually one of the important ways that the architecture profession can collaborate on collective improvement.

For students: Twitter is a great opportunity to give yourself a voice in the architecture community before you officially enter it. Start by following architects in your own city, architects whose work you like, your studio leaders. Then don’t be afraid to speak up on the issues that interest you.

Good examples

  • Estelle Rose Rehayem. Architecture student at UTS, creative director of Agency 2017, the Australian Student Architecture Congress
  • Anthony Richardson. Architecture student at Deakin
  • Keely Malady, graduate architect who publishes interviews of creative entrepreneurs (also a past student of mine)
  • Graham Bennett, graduate architect at Morton Dunn Architects

Importance
10 / 10. Get on board.


Footnote:

  1. Leading social networks worldwide as of January 2016; Statista; January 2016

Image:

  1. Twitter, logo copyright Twitter. Composition by author.