An aside…

I hate sketchbooks. I HATE THEM. I like working on massive sheets of paper, and sticking them up around me, so I’m always aware of what I’ve been thinking and where I am. I would never naturally keep a diary of my thoughts, so doing one for my design work seems totally at odds with how I think and work.

That’s why this blog is here. But it’s not what prompted it.

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On Thursday evening, Lauren Currie, Sarah Drummond (one of the product design grads from last year) Kate Andrews (via Skype from London) – put on a discussion/presentation about the benefits of using online social networking as part of the design process. First off, I have to say I’m not a stranger to the benefits of the internet above basic browsing etc. Through working in the University print media, I’ve been involved in creating and promoting a website for the paper that can be easily updated by all members of staff, and be followed by anyone outside the uni – our twitter feed, which is automatically linked to the articles we publish online – currently jostles in follower numbers with the news feed of one of Scotland’s top national newspapers. I’ve also spent time managing my online presence for photography, through my photography website and blog (I wasn’t the one who designed my site though!).

So, I guess you could say I was sceptical of what I was going to learn (Sorry!), but the whole thing was very convincing. The depth of their arguments was engaging, and the discussion after the talk was as useful as the presentation itself. Looking at the numbers of people from the evening who are now embarking on blogging and micro-blogging, it’s plain to see that the event hit the mark.

While I may have used social networking to forward my photography, I’ve never really considered using it as an integral part of my design process, as I always considered it as extra work. But considering what was said at the event, thinking about it in the form of an online sketchbook-esque affair makes it a much more viable option. I don’t need to fanny around with printing documents, highlighting, sticking in a fake moleskein jotter (product design student = tight), I can just blog the whole lot, discuss it online, and get opinions by slamming it through onto Twitter. If I need to, I can then print the entire project’s worth of ramblings off at the end, or equally, just be selective and make myself look like a genius. If only…

Video Link-up

Am I a convert then? Well, I guess the answer is yes – you’re reading my blog, and you’ve more than likely been linked here from twitter. I do still hold reservations – the amount of utter bilge that you read on Twitter every day can drown out the useful qualities, and that could very well become worse as it becomes more popular, and I think it seems to be dissolving people’s inner monologue. I also still think that there is much more enthusiasm for social networking’s use amongst us the creative industries, compared to other areas, which can put limits on what sort of people you can interact with (at the moment).

All in though, if you’re a designer and you’ve no idea what the hell you’re meant to do with yourself online, you’d do well to keep an eye out for when Studio Unbound are doing their next event, and head along.

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