Features

Web Savvy: Bob Borson

The author of Life of an Architect talks social media
By Alice Liao
January 29, 2013

Where are you geographically?
I am located in Dallas, TX—the Lone Star State.

Where are you professionally?
I am a licensed architect who specializes in residential projects. This means that a high priority is placed on my ability to listen to what people are saying and interpret that into what they are really asking for. Sometimes, finding a balance between what he wants and what she wants means there is a bit of marriage counseling that goes along with the territory.

What is your Twitter handle?
I am on Twitter less and less these days, but when I am on there, I can be tracked down @bobborson.

Are you on Facebook?
Of course! I have a fan page, www.facebook/lifeofanarchitect, which supports the blog I started writing a few years ago.

Whom do you follow on Twitter?
I follow anyone who is in the business that follows me, but to keep things manageable, I group people into lists by interests or by how well I know them. After a while, Twitter can become too much background noise, so I had to find a way to keep an eye on the parts I found most useful to me.

Is there someone you wish would follow you?
Honestly, I never really thought about it. Following me on Twitter vs. actually communicating with me on Twitter would be a different experience for someone. I have received a few tweets from some people of note, and despite thinking I don’t get caught up with “stars,” I was pretty excited.

How often are you on Twitter? Facebook?
I am on both every day for five minutes here, five minutes there ... probably between 30-60 minutes total. That may sound like a lot but even then, it’s hard to keep up.

What do you do on Twitter and Facebook?
I check in on both a handful of times throughout the day when I have a few minutes, mostly to post links to articles I’ve written, keep up with what industry leaders are talking about and follow links to news stories that otherwise I probably wouldn’t find on my own.

How often do you update on both?
I probably send out between 10 and 20 tweets a day, far less on Facebook—the style of interaction is different. Facebook doesn’t seem to mind that the exchange isn’t immediate and rapid-fire, while Twitter is almost like having a real-time conversation. Both have their places and, as a result, their strengths and weaknesses.

Projects from Borson's portfolio


Do you have a blog and what kinds of topics do you blog about?
I do have a blog. In fact, it’s probably the reason why anybody might know me. I started writing www.LifeofanArchitect.com in early 2010, and it has grown into one of the most trafficked architectural blogs in the world—something I still find amazing. The topics I cover are all over the place, but I generally try to relate them in some way back to design and architecture. I think it’s successful because I try to make the site personal and use a lot of humor to convey my personality through the articles I write. One day the topic might be “Top 10 Modern Kitchen Design Trends” and the next might be “How to Spot a Hippie.” I also try to make the practice of architecture as transparent as possible, so I share design ideas and construction details and use a lot of photos to explain what exactly is going on.

What are three favorite work-related blogs and/or websites you read regularly?
As someone who writes a blog, I should be more in tune with what other people are doing. I have about 20 blogs that preload into my homepage but I don’t visit any of them regularly for work. The websites I visit for work are on a need-to-know basis. I need to know something specific so I go look it up.

What are three favorite blogs or websites you read for kicks?
I like to read other architectural blogs when I find the time but there aren’t many architects out there who blog regularly. One that does maintain a publishing schedule that I check in with every time they write something new is Build’s blog. I know the guys there, and we share a lot of similar interests.

What kind of phone do you have?
I have an iPhone. It is simply easier since I have so many other Apple products in my life. As a designer, it is easy to appreciate the effort that goes into designing the appearance of the package as well as the performance of the product and how the two are interrelated.

What do you use your phone for?
I use it for everything I can... except texting. I hate texting. The only thing worse than texting is when someone is talking on the phone in the toilet room, which is exactly the time they should be texting.

What work-related apps have you downloaded?
I do a lot of photo editing on my phone and my favorite app by far is SnapSeed.

Do you have an iPad?
Yes, but between my wife and daughter, I rarely get to use it. When I do, I tend to watch videos and look at pictures.

How much time during a week do you spend on social media?
More time than I really have. In the end, I think I have sacrificed sleep to try and keep up. Probably around five hours total, including the weekends.

Is this problematic?
Not yet, but if my life gets any busier, I will probably have to figure something out.
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