How Can We Improve the Design Community?

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The amount of noise in the online design community is incredible. By noise, I mean distraction. Distracting content that is just whizzing around in cyberspace not really adding any value to anyone or anything.

Actually there is so much noise, that it is almost deafening. Due to this, it is becoming increasingly difficult to filter out what is useful from what is, well…rubbish.

Think about it. There are already countless design blogs, and dozens more being launched everyday. There are literally thousands of bloggers all fiercely vying for the attention of what is a limited audience. There is massive swarm of hungry design entrepreneurs who all want a piece of the pie. Sadly for some, the primary motivation is money.

As a result of all this, there has been a proliferation of shallow, attention grabbing and just plain stupid posts. It isn’t just the crazy and overinflated list posts I am talking about either. There has also been an explosion of “regular” posts with titles that border on embarrassing. I am certain many of you will know what I am talking about.

Now, this post is not about singling anyone out or playing the blame game. Somewhere along the way, I am sure that most of us would have contributed to the problem. I know that I have.

What I wish to do is initiate a discussion on how we, the design community, can make a collective effort to improve the current state of affairs.

How can we help stop the proliferation of fluff posts and meaningless commentary to move forward in a more positive way?

So I ask. As a community what can we do?

Personally, I think one of the major problems is that social media sharing is completely out of control.

So to kick off the discussion, here is a suggestion from me.

Think before you share

Before you share anything via social media, ask yourself – is this post adding value to the community or my audience?

As a community, we have become way too trigger-happy with social media. Don’t get me wrong, sharing can be great. I support the sharing of well-written, informative posts that make a real contribution to the design community. However, the content that I see being shared the most, is seldom the best.

Just because a post has been tweeted, dugg, bumped, floated, mooed, and stumbled hundreds or even thousands of times, does not mean it is good.

Recently, I was shocked when a colleague revealed that he only retweets a post if it had already been retweeted over 100 times. His reasoning was that if it had been retweeted so many times, the post “must be good”.

For me, this was really an eye-opening revelation. It got me thinking…how many other people are just following the masses? How many other people are retweeting something just because “insert name of popular blogger” did?

If a blog has a large number of subscribers/followers they obviously did something right to get to where they are. For that they deserve some respect. What I find worrisome however, is that there are people out there in the design community who are just blindly sharing their content, whether it be good or BAD.

That is a huge problem. I say forget the source, and judge every post on its own merits.

So please, think before you share.

Where do we go from here?

What do you think are the major problems facing the online design community right now? What can we all do to make it a better place?

Let the discussion begin.

Photo by acockle

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