I posted this article about how the “credit crunch” was effecting designers last year so I thought it might be a good idea to give it a little revisit. I got thinking about how the industry has adapted to the challenges brought about by restrictions & the main change that I can see is that the role of social media has exploded.
2009 really was the year that social networking took off in the mainstream. As more and more people jump on the bandwagon, more voices are added to the simmering online stew hence more facebook users to get on your nerves and even more self proclaimed social media experts telling you how to become……a social media expert. (If they were real experts they would know better than to tell you this every 10 minutes).
Everyone, and I mean everyone has something to say, whether it is important or interesting is another matter but they will do a good job of trying to get you to hear it (that’s if they are a self proclaimed expert). And that is perfectly fair. I’m not exactly sure whether social media has directly increased the number of designers in the world, but one thing is for certain, it makes you aware of just how many there are.
There is one interesting trend that I have noticed. The big agencies don’t really “tweet” or “blog” that much, mainly because they don’t have to, they have their reputation to rely on. For smaller independent companies and freelancers the situation is different, social media becomes an avenue for exposure, after all that’s exactly what the vehicle of social media is, a cry for attention. Is this an advantage?
Absolutely. Anything that creates connections amongst people can only be a good thing. When used in moderation that is. However, it can be abused, and I see it every day. There seems to be a new design blog or a new “THE source for inspiration” website appearing every week. I’ve never really understood why some designers can only create by looking at something first anyway. Is that even classed as creativity? Or thinking? That’s another argument. It’s getting to the point of where most of the articles you read give you a sense of deja vu, probably because you read a very similar article on a similar website just a few weeks before.
Ever read a blog post that has no real substance and a fair amount of random words are made bold or are even hyperlinks? I’m sure you have. That’s a cunning tactic to make the search engines squeal with delight when searching for those keywords, it doesn’t really matter if the article is crap, google doesn’t care and neither does the person who wrote it, as long as an increase in web traffic is reached then everyone is a winner baby. So therefore we can sort of work out a formula for supposed social media success in the design world.
Design Company Owner + SEO / Social Media = Increased Web Traffic = More Potential Leads.
And we all know that an increase in leads can increase the chance of a sale. It’s quite simple when you think about it. So what happens now? Do you sit and wade our way through all of the social media trash looking for a real piece of interest or do we add to the madness that seems to be spiralling out of control?