How can there possibly be five networks you don’t know about or aren’t using? It may simply be that these networks are so niche specific, you would have no reason to know of their existence. With so many users and so much specific content targeted at specialised audiences globally, there are social networks that cater to almost every interest, hobby or profession you can think of. For me, I’m talking about architecture, urban planning and design. Here are five social networks that I use regularly (and they’re all free), dedicated to those fields.
5 Architecture and Design Focused Social Networking Sites:
Archinect - One of the first sites I discovered that connects design students, architectural firms and schools together all under one roof. The layout is good, but not great. Most of the content is a healthy mix of images and text, with a layout that favours long-form written articles. Membership is international to a degree, but most members are from North America. There is also a current events and news section. Some features of Architect include:
Members can write personal blogs/articles and comment on others.
Create personal work history and CV’s.
View and follow other member profiles.
Upload PDF portfolios, also upload images to your profile gallery.
Search job listings, schools and community forum pages.
Architecture Linked - A true social network. Severely lacking in design, it makes up for it in bare-bones functionality. While some of these networks feature images as the main component, Architecture Linked encourages community interaction between members. You can do all the basic SNS things, like and follow people and send messages, but this site really shines with the groups, with members posting and answering questions regularly. The membership is quite international. Features:
Advanced blogging platform, with fully functioning html formatting.
Members articles are regularly featured on the home page.
Active community interaction.
Image tagging and categories available with all uploads.
Architizer - Simple and beautiful with a fantastic full-bleed design layout. Architizer is where you go to see and be seen, with its huge graphical layout that puts emphasis on your work and current projects. It’s the opposite of Architecture Linked, with almost no emphasis on community interaction. You can make a personal profile and a company page, then begin to upload your images and content. The homepage is like an ultra-modern magazine, with links to full length articles on various design subjects. Features:
Very professional, with a “pro” account upgrade option that let’s you browse job listings and communicate with more members.
The best looking personal and company pages in my opinion.
Slick interface with super easy image uploading.
Infinite scroll homepage with big thumbnail images – perfect for photography.
No blogging but curated story submissions via email to the editor.
Huge international audience, lots of chances to network overseas.
Archilovers - Like a mixture of the previous three networks. It’s heavy on the images with enough room for articles and blogs. Members can also make business and personal pages, as well as follow and interact with other members. I would say its the most well-rounded of the previous three, with space to show your work and contact info, but still fostering community interaction among members. There’s also a great blogging platform that allows embedded video and coded links to other sites. To be honest it looks a little like the old Flickr. Features:
Search for members based on location, job tittle etc.
Ability to send direct messages to other members, comment on their work and add people to favourite lists.
Advanced blogging platform that accepts html styling and video embedding.
Well designed featured project pages with enough space for in-depth descriptions along with large images.
Archh.com - The newest of the group, it’s looking to become the LinkedIn of the architect and designer SNS niche it would seem. The design is simple with a great user interface. It looks and feels like a mixture of LinkedIn, Architizer and Archilovers. The member demographic is dominated by Indian architects and design firms, so if you’re looking to break into South East Asia have a look at this site. Again, a personal profile and company page are available for creation and you can upload high-res images as page headers and company logos. There’s no blogging or publishing functionality, but you can post projects as status updates with links to your own sites etc. Features:
Follow any member you wish and sent them direct messages.
Young and vibrant crowd looking to network outside of their circles.
Simple and clean UI, designed with easy member interaction in mind.
Add projects and photos to both personal and business profiles.
Archinect - All around network for posting longer articles and mid-sized images. Don’t expect too much member interaction.
Architecture Linked - Bad design but great community. Very grass-roots approach. Small photos and html enabled blogging.
Architizer - Looks like an online version of a design magazine. HUGE images. Professional feel. If you have lots of photos of your projects, start here.
Archilovers - Like Facebook or Google+. Make a business page and start uploading your work. Connect with other doing the same.
Archh.com - Architectural LinkedIn for the international crowd. Post updates and follow people. No blogging but a very open community willing to engage.
Which To Choose?
All of them I say. Why not? All these networks have a slightly different purpose and feel to them, all serving different audiences. As a favourite blogger of mine always says “Be everywhere”, and I totally agree. Get to know other architects and designers outside of your area and while also gaining inspiration for future projects.
I hope you find the information here useful and that I’ve encouraged you to try using some of these social networks to showcase your own design work. And if you do join one of these sites, be sure to add me as I’d love to hear from you.