It is said that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”, and “if you can’t beat them, join them”. Both sayings sprang to mind when I saw that Building Design, the architectural magazine published by UBM, was launching its own Twitter Top 100 for architects, the #BDTwitter100, in the same week that the Construction Network (tCn) and rival architectural weekly The Architects’ Journal announced a collaboration to create an architects top 100, the #AJtCn100. Both projects are using the UK-based ‘social capital’ monitoring service PeerIndex.
The tCn/AJ initiative follows the publication of the first #tCnTop100 – Top tweeters in UK Built Environment – by AJ’s Emap sister title Construction News in April (post).* Initial reactions to this initiative were mixed, and this latest AJ/tCn project seems to be a step forward, while BD’s seems more a copy of CN’s campaign.
For a start, the AJ/tCn project has benefitted from the input of my good friend Su Butcher, practice manager at Ipswich-based architects Barefoot & Gilles and one of architecture’s foremost exponents of Twitter. She has responded to criticisms of the original CN Top100:
- some industry tweeters were dismayed at their omission or their moderate ranking
- others complained that some highly-ranked individuals achieved eminence because of who they were (UK Government minister Grant Shapps fell into this category) not because of how active they were on Twitter
- there was frustration that purely industry-focused tweeting didn’t result in higher influence than those who tweeted about non-work matters, and
- others raged about recency and the relative merits of original content versus re-Tweets (RTs).
Under Su’s guidance, the AJtCn100 will at least be purely focused on qualified, registered architects, and their industry credentials will be vetted by more than PeerIndex. To qualify, Twitter users will need to be:
- an ARB-registered UK architect (entrants will be checked against the ARB register), or
- a UK architects practice official twitter account, or
- an employee of a UK architects practice
Once checked, individuals will be added to the list managed by PeerIndex, who will score the overall influence of each user out of 100 according to their authority, activity and audience.
By working with The Architects’ Journal, Su is hoping that news of this project will be widely disseminated across the profession, so no Tweeting UK architect can claim they were unaware of it. Of course, Building Design will also have an extensive reach across most of the same audience, but it appears to be aiming to collate a wider-ranging list.
I saw a Twitter exchange between @BDonline and @stormyjoolz (Julie Tempest) after the latter asked why marketing agencies were being included, to which BD responded “it’s not just architects but also useful people for architects” – to which @stormyjoolz responded: “you’d better delete @grantshapps then…he’s not useful for architects! ;).” @BDonline also confirmed to me: “Finding out which non-architects the architects on twitter follow and why is really, really interesting….”
Of course, many architects will probably figure in both lists, and both publications are striving to spread the word among their followers, ahead of publication next month (14 July in the case of AJ). Looking at Tweetreach, a snapshot late this afternoon (c. 4.30pm BST) shows:
|No of Twitterers||34||39|
|50 Tweets reach||30,859||17,620|
While some are viewing this as a contest between the two publishers, I believe the two projects have different purposes. Judging from the supporting articles, the BDTwitter100 has similar aspirations to the original tCn/Construction News project in looking to educate its readers about Twitter and its existing industry reach across relevant professionals. The AJtCn100, on the other hand, is more advanced and targeted in its ambitions; it assumes that the business case for Twitter is already beginning to penetrate the architecture profession and is striving to discover who, within that profession, is ranked as influential. I, and I am sure many others, will be looking at the results from both initiatives with a lot of interest – results due out in July!