Friday, 2 March 2012

The Power of Social Media - Part 1

This particular blog is now a year old and has received just over 100,000 visitors. Last month it had just over 10,000 visitors and the site is averaging 350 visitors a day. I had no idea of the power of social media when I started in 2006. I do now…
I reluctantly got into the blog in 2006 through the urging of Robert Thompson a golf writer and good friend. He saw it as a way to get “all those strong views” out to other people in the golf industry. I know I frustrated some, entertained others, but slowly found a group of similar minded people who enjoyed the journey. I stuck to writing regularly and shared my deepest thoughts on design by the end of the first run (June 2008) I had 6,000 visitors a month. I stopped because I was spent.

In that period I was invited to write for magazines and begun to get quoted in the press and re-posted on other web sites. I found the blogging helped get my name out to people who had vener heard of me before. I returned to blogging in April 2009 and wrote on the Weir Design Web Site. But that was a failure with the site being ignored by Google so I eventually changed back to blogger one year ago.  Unfortunately they would not let me return to my dormant original site so I moved everything I had onto the new blog and began writing again. The first few months were real quiet, but after a few months the site took off and now I have 350 visitors a day.

A few months back I begrudgingly joined Facebook. I happen to dislike Facebook and see it as one of the great time wasters of our generation. But like blogging I understand the reach that it has in modern society. I joined and found this to be another major source of traffic. The next stage would be twitter.

I can’t stand twitter, but recently I saw a presentation on social media by Chris Tritabaugh and it opened my eyes to the potential. He began with a tweat and then showed us the reach of that tweat at the end of the presentation. That impressed me, but I was far more impressed by how the golf superintendent’s community turned Twitter into a useful tool. He talked about how supers send images, seek opinions or ask questions seeking a better solution for something they think can be more effectively. They then collect the feedback, consider potential solutions and occasionally try something new.  They use Twitter to widen their perspective for finding equipment using its international scope to find unusual products or equipment. I don’t see a similar application for architects, but I’ve learnt not to be so quick to dismiss the tool till I try.

One of the more complicated aspects of being a golf designer is finding work. It’s easier to find work close to home where you know the potential clients and the distances are all manageable in a day by car. To widen your possibilities you would venture to other cities and meet with potential clients and talk at conferences or regional meetings trying to let people know you were out there and interested in the work.

Social media is a game changer for our profession.

We are in an era where people seek their information from the internet. Where they once depended on television, books and magazines for insight, they now go to web sites and chat rooms to glean the latest information. We are in a society that once anyone has a curiosity they want that information instantly and will go to the quickest and easiest source … the internet.

Being a creative communicator in this era is critical since something interesting or clever can become the catalyst to drawing attention to the designer. The joy of social media is there are so many options to choose from and each link very well together. Once you have shared your opinion piece or interesting project onto a social media site it has the potential to reach a very large audience. The designer now has the ability to make personal contact all over the world in an instant opening up the potential for work in almost any community.


  1. Ian,
    It is encouraging to read your post on social media, and your message on it's reach and effectiveness is apparent - I'm in the infant throws of developing my own communications in this area, and it is a new gig for sure.. so your post is timely. You have gained some valuable insight through your past efforts, so would love to pick your brain a bit in Chattanooga if you are willing? Till then, keep up the great work.
    Drew Rogers, ASGCA

  2. Ian,
    I promote your blog page at every turn as it is informative and interesting.
    I can see how twitter can be really useful in an area of expertise like course superintendents. In the ground-breaking microscope line of work during the early days (20 years ago) we were always emailing one another across the world with questions, tips and suggestions to do this or that. Really makes you feel connected and then you know you are not alone in the world with your problem which is comforting!

    P.S. JDR, Dwarf throwing is politically incorrect and frowned upon in many areas of the world methinks. Now infant throwing is another kettle of fish altogether! You can easily give the wrong impression on social media and it spreads like wildfire. I'm chuckling here as I know you meant "infant throes" but your message is out in the ether and flying free!

    Cheers Colin

  3. nice idea...thanks for sharing....

  4. I also used to think Facebook and Twitter was a waste of time, but that was because I judged them based on the "wrong users", those who post useless updates. Then I read a bit and realized if used properly, you can reach a much larger audience and even earn more money if that's your goal.

    You have to know your limits of course, don't waste the time with tons of useless applications these social media sites offer. A few minutes daily, or an hour, should be more than enough to update your followers with something useful.

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