6 ways to use social media to boost your design process

Fred Deakin explains how an online presence can do wonders for your creative projects.

Most people think of social media as low-brow entertainment or even a dangerous weapon of mass procrastination. However, the world that Web 2.0 has created presents powerful opportunities for turbocharging the creative process.

On day seven of intensive two-week creative workshop Modual 2016, Prof. Fred Deakin – chair of Interactive Digital Arts at UAL – shared his tips for driving your creative projects forward using socail media…

Catch up on the pro creative advice from Modual 2016 day one, day two, day three, day five and day six. 

01. Reveal your intent

Day 07 of Modual 2016: students present their strategies

By creating a virtual public face for your project (even just a minimal splash page or simple Twitter or Facebook profile) you force yourself to nail down on what exactly it is your trying to do.

If you're really going to pique your audience's interest, you'll have to be specific and succinct about what your vision is and what you're offering. This is an important exercise in creative commitment and conviction, even if the project evolves any number of times later on.

02. Start conversations

The most powerful thing about social media is, of course, the ability to connect with all sorts of people across the globe on any range of topics.

No matter how obscure your project topic is, chances are a quick Twitter search will put you in reach of a group of people who will have some common interest and may have useful knowledge to share. Dive in and get talking. Who knows where it could end.

03. Create living project documentation

Students developing content at Modual 2016

Documenting our process is something most of us creatives do out of habit. But often, this working is dumped in a folder on our computers somewhere and only whipped out when we have to put a portfolio together.

If you publish your work online (again, even just on a dedicated Twitter or Facebook page) it gives those who you connect with a chance to really engage with what you've been researching and making throughout your project. This cross-pollination could take your work to exciting new places.

04. Build creative momentum

Launching your project with a bold public gesture like setting up a Twitter profile is a commitment. You can't just leave it and let it go dead. Putting your project live on social media is a way to force your hand into constant creation.

Producing public-worthy content from start to end is a great way to keep your creative juices flowing and avoid getting stuck too much in over-thinking.

05. Take the next steps

Keep the momentum flowing by planning a minimal viable product

Prototyping is often a much more effective way of introducing your vision to other than just explaining it. Creating a 'minimal viable product' (i.e. what is the minimum you can create to make your vision seem like a reality) can help others share your vision and rally around your idea.

Breathe life into your idea by making a social media profile for it as though it already exists and start interacting with others. Get feedback on your concept from prospective users and iterate. 

06. Start a movement

Starting conversations and building profiles for imaginary companies or initiatives opens the door for others to get involved in your ideas.

Avoid being too hard-sell with your vision. Instead, invite your audience to share their thoughts and ideas and take your project in interesting and unexpected directions

Putting it into practice at Modual 2016

Glue: Tinder for Collaboration

Some of project teams at the Modual workshop have jumped straight into the philosophy of using social media to launch their visions.

Team Glue are developing a Tinder-style app to help like-minded and lonely artists and makers get together to make great work.

OnlyOnGlue's Instagram presence

The team have spent the last day rapidly developing a social media presence, making their idea seem like a non-too distant reality and inviting those that engage to contribute to development.

A lot of fun and hilarity has ensued. You can check out the team and join in the fun OnlyOnGlue on Twitter and OnlyOnGlue on Instagram.

Watch students pitch to industry investors live on Periscope today 6-9pm GMT

Students at the Modual workshop are on the final stretch, readying their pitches for a launch event this evening at Somerset House in central London. 

If you'd like to join in on the action, tune in on Periscope by following Modual on Twitter and clicking the video link that will appear shortly before 6pm.

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