As previously mentioned, I recently organised what I believe were the world’s first social media awards expressly for the built environment (ie: architecture, engineering, construction, FM, property, etc); the winners of the 2011 Be2Awards were announced at an event during London Social Media Week on Wednesday 9 February. As also noted, one of the categories was focused on Best AEC collaboration application, and after a lot of lobbying among their various user groups, BIW Technologies won the HP-sponsored award, ahead of UK-based rivals 4Projects and Asite.
The Be2Awards programme was condensed into less than six weeks, and, instead of a judges panel, relied upon online voting from the “crowd”. Initially some shortlisted candidates were a little reticent about mobilising their supporters to vote, but most eventually began appealing to their followers through email, Twitter, blog posts, etc. This transparent process helped avoid (m)any accusations of the results being a “fix”, but it did mean that some front-runners were people, businesses or applications with large user-bases rather than ones that had actively cultivated a loyal social following and/or were active in social media circles.
BIW has only used social media to a limited extent, for instance, whereas several of its category rivals were applications with stronger social media credentials, either incorporating Web 2.0 tools and techniques into their technologies, or using social media to market or support their systems. But, in either case, AEC market adoption of social media channels isn’t so advanced yet that it can challenge the email exhortations of well-used solution providers delivering tools to a conservative market.
As (I think) the first built environment awards programme openly decided on this basis, it will be interesting to see if “size is everything” next time – particularly for the application categories. For example, even if a vendor or its application doesn’t have a huge following, it could have an intensely loyal, even fanatical, following – perhaps nurtured by successful engagement and dialogue through social media channels – that outguns larger rivals who take their users for granted. Perhaps next year’s contests will see more shortlisted candidates and more winners who have developed a long-term rapport with their users, followers, friends and fans?
Apart from footnotes to my blog posts, I did no lobbying of my followers on Twitter, and I was flattered to discover that I managed to gather 20% of the poll for Best AEC user of Twitter, narrowly beating the nearest of my nine very worthy rivals in this category. Many thanks to everyone who voted for me – and I will wear my badge with pride.