Social distancing among social networking: Architects’ reactions to Covid-19 pandemic with evidence from their social media accounts
Keywords:AEC industry, Architecture office, content analysis, Instagram, social networking service
The crisis caused by the covid-19 pandemic is being experienced by consecutive waves of effects, and more is expected until it settles down. The restrictions forced many of us to stay indoors, work remotely and communicate online, as much as possible. Although the advances in ICT were increasing online communication and remote work practice, a change in such a scale was not something expected this abruptly. Besides, the change did not stay limited to the work environment and blurred the line between private lives and the business environment. Social Networking Service (SNS) use increased exponentially both for business and social needs. This sudden change triggered by the pandemic not only challenged the way we work and communicate but also many questions about the future of the built environment emerged. This study attempts to identify the similarities and differences between reactions of a group of Turkish and international architects during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, by using the data retrieved from their corporate SNS accounts. A mix of qualitative and quantitative methodology is adopted for content analysis of Instagram (IG) accounts. There are significant differences between architects’ social network use and their expressed reactions to the pandemic. These differences are both between the Turkish and international architect groups, but also between the group members. Similar studies with different groups of architects, regions and the use of different SNSs should be repeated to compare the results and implications. One of the main contributions of this article is that, it tries to draw attention towards the role of SNSs for the architects to develop a professional identity in digital mediums and administer it within the company’s management strategy. Research on architects’ professional social media use and its implications on their management strategy and corporate practice seem quite scarce. The knowledge gap in this area is promising for further research.
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