You may not have heard of them, but our Twitter 100 architects are winning work online, says Christine Murray
The AJ, like most media outlets, was quick to embrace Twitter. It helps us to source news, and to broadcast our online content and building studies. Our Twitter account, @architectsjrnal, now has three times more followers than our print rivals, and twice as many as the RIBA.
The power of Twitter for a magazine is more than just PR; it’s a way to extend our reach. When someone in China posted a tweet about Zaha Hadid’s Guangzhou Opera House catching fire, moments later our news desk confirmed the story and posted an article online. Similarly, a few months back, when a blogger revealed on Twitter that Eduardo Souto de Moura had won the Pritzker Prize, the revelation had the prize’s press office scrambling to release a statement when they weren’t going to announce the winner for another week.
While AJ subscribers will have noted the 89 covers we printed for our RIBA Awards issue (AJ 16.06.11), more than 400,000 people on Twitter heard about it when it was tweeted by architects, bloggers and magazines such as Creative Review, with 20,000 people having viewed the covers – featuring your built work – on Flickr.
It’s also a great way to keep in touch with readers. I’ve fielded a number of questions through my personal account @tcmurray, from subscription queries to comments on our coverage.
This week, we reveal the results of the AJtCn100, the ranking of the 100 most influential architects and practices on Twitter. We’ve compiled it with partners at The Construction Network (tCn) and Twitter expert Su Butcher of practice Barefoot & Gilles.
You may be surprised not to recognise any of the names in the top 10 (which Butcher would have topped, had she not been a partner in promoting the ranking). There’s nary a starchitect in sight, even though from Adam Architecture to Foster + Partners, there are plenty of high-profile practices tweeting. But the PeerIndex algorithm, which was used to calibrate the list, reveals that on Twitter influence isn’t necessarily married to celebrity. These top tweeters may not yet have brand power, but they are building themselves up as architectural experts in a new digital ecosystem.
This influence gives these early-adopters an advantage over their rivals. We were struck by how many tweeters claim to have won work through this free-to-use networking and marketing tool. Most of them have built relationships with other practices, consultants, construction professionals and clients (not to mention the media) through their interactions on Twitter.
Elrond Burrell (@ElrondBurrell) was one of several architects who mentioned hearing about tender opportunities early via Twitter, while Mark Cotton (@the_marchitect) says using Twitter considerably expanded his network beyond local geography. Dave Cornett (@snowarchitects) says he’s recently been to see a potential job in Lichfield via a Twitter contact.
Twitter is more than an opportunity to tell people you’ve just made yourself a cup of tea. It’s a digital tool, ideal for small practices looking to market themselves online, build relationships, share ideas, or research clients and competitors. I suggest you join the conversation, or start listening in.