Every weekday morning and most weekend mornings I wake up, pour a cup of coffee, trip over a running cat, and sit down on my sofa to sip, read the news, and chat with my friends about what I read. Twitter is my coffee shop, a sacred place that I have been visiting since ’07 where I congregate with other designers and web folk. I take this ritual very seriously, as I grow older I find that many of my friendships are rooted deeply in sharing this experience. We chat about design, web things, and things that web designers like.
I am very territorial about my coffee shop experience because as I have described in blog posts before, for much of my life I related to the little honey bee in the No Rain video, and then by pure luck and a little karma I discovered a place with tons of honey bees known as SXSW. Since twitter, SXSW comes together for me in my virtual coffee shop, daily. These are all people who love design and have a personal interest in the health and well being of the web. People who understand the web and are passionate about design. They “get it”.
Last Wednesday, April 13 a few of the regulars and a few of their friends decided to hold a rally in our coffee shop, to chant and preach about design. Getting stoked on design? Hell yes! I am on board! But wait, rather than choosing a rally hall or a public building to hold their demonstration, they came into my coffee shop hooting and hollering, causing a ruckus. This is a coffee shop where patrons were already passionate about design. They were going about their regular, daily chatting on the matter; organic brainstorming, sharing, contributing to the design community.
While I recognize the need for a day set apart for discussing design matters, it was obvious that those protesting didn’t understand what many of the long-time coffee shop visitors already knew; how to use the internet to connect with people. I give you a thumbs up for trying to raise awareness around something I care deeply about, but 2 thumbs down by only making it more obvious that there is a deep divide between designers and designers who understand the social web.
This matters to me because the health of our industry relies on organizations like AIGA to educate and inform the next generation of designers. The design world is an ecosystem, we need to get everyone up on the social web, web development practices, and user experience design, and when the leading organization just doesn’t “get it”, it makes me concerned that there will be a split in how we view “design” in the future. The social web is not a checkbox, a tweet, or a like button. You don’t just start tweeting at people. It is an experience, an experience that we design.
Here’s to the next organized design rally being one that is well-designed and not in the middle of my coffee shop! #1d4d