WordPress for students

In my casual surveys of architecture students from first year to final, I’ve been surprised to discover how few engage professionally with social media. While Facebook is ubiquitous and many have Instagram accounts jammed full of selfies, there is little interest to extend this activity into the professional sphere.

This is the 7th of eight articles exploring the major social media outlets, how I engage with them, and how they might be of interest to students. An archive of the series can be accessed here.

Social media

WordPress
Panfilocastaldi
Direct subscribers: 193
Indirect followers: 961
Created: October 2010

Purpose: WordPress is a blogging and website content management system.

Staggering statistics: Depending on the articles you read, it’s estimated that about 25% of the internet runs on WordPress.[2] More concretely, each month WordPress users produce 54 million new blog posts, and over 400 million people view 21 billion blog pages.[3]

Community: There is probably a WordPress blog on every subject known to humankind, so the problem is less discovering your community and more whittling the millions of options down to the one in which you’re most interested. As it says in the Panfilocastaldi byline, my blog explores the culture, practice and business of architecture. It didn’t start this way, originally covering a much broader range of topics, but over time I have narrowed my focus down to this fairly specific subject.

Almost all of my followers are other architects running or working in studios around Australia. This makes sense, since this is precisely the audience for whom I write. Occasionally I meet someone at an event and discover that she’s been following (and benefitting from) my blog for years. I always act cool when this happens, but just below the surface I’m giving myself massive high-fives and whooping like a little boy who’s just discovered that Spiderman lives next door.

I follow a small number of other architects who maintain active blogs. This circle would be larger if possible, but there just aren’t that many architects committing themselves to generating content.

Posting: Before I had children, I wrote a lot more than I do now. My unwavering commitment however is to ensure I publish at least one article every month. This keeps the blog current, and ensures subscribers are exposed to regular content.

For students: I started this blog as a way of encouraging me to get off the couch. Having the blog inspires me to experience new things so I can write about them. The process of writing then encourages me to see more new things. It is a very positive feedback loop.

At architecture practice lectures I gave recently at both Melbourne University and RMIT, I asked students to raise their hands if they write a design blog. Of the 400 or so students in attendance, I counted only 5 raised hands. There should be more.

Good examples:

Importance:
9 / 10

 


Footnotes:

  1. Leading social networks worldwide as of January 2016Statista; January 2016
  2. Tom Ewer; 14 surprising statistics about WordPress usage; ManageWP; February 2014
  3. How many people are reading blogs?; WordPress; March 2016. This page also contains a neat world map that flashes a light over the relevant city whenever a blog post is published.

Image:

  1. WordPress, logo copyright WordPress. Composition by author.

2 thoughts on “WordPress for students

Add yours

  1. I agree! Once I had kids my blog writing took a drastic nosedive! I started this year with the intention to write more frequently, however there is a now a post that’s sat there half-written for two months…….

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