On Tuesday last week and yesterday I spoke at the RIBA Insight consultancy days, held in Manchester and London respectively. These events are aimed at manufacturers and suppliers and are intended to help them deliver effective continuous professional development (CPD) information to practising architects. As well as providing information about CPD, the days also provided presentations on technologies that are – or will be – changing how manufacturers, etc, liaise with designers and specifiers.
Not surprisingly (there seems to be an event on the topic every week!), the first part of the morning was devoted to building information modelling (BIM) – well delivered by NBS‘s Stephen Hamil and BIM Academy/Ryder Architecture‘s Peter Barker – while the early afternoon was focused on social media (me!) and website search engine optimisation (Pritesh Patel of Pauley Creative).
We had some good questions yesterday, and while it was clear many businesses “get” it, there were still some sceptics in the room. For example, one man yesterday felt the word ‘Twitter’ lacked business gravitas, and wondered if it was really possible to have thousands of ‘friends’.
I pointed out that Twitter now has an estimated seven million UK users and, like it or not, it is an increasingly widely used communication channel that businesses should at least be familiar with – even if not regularly using it. The ‘friends’ notion was easier to handle, particularly as some networks use less ‘cuddly’ or more business-like terms such as connections (LinkedIn), followers (Twitter, SlideShare) or contacts (Flickr) or allow people to be subscribers to your content (YouTube). We also discussed the use of Facebook pages that allow people to separate their personal/family profile from their business one.