It's a bit over a week since posting my SXSW Sketchnotes and I've been fascinated watching the meme and images make the rounds. It started small, with mentions on Twitter and then blogs with links, images or both in postings (currently at 66).
On Thursday, I notice a huge increase in Flickr emails with favorites and comments on the sketchnotes, so I checked my RSS feed searches for 'sketchnotes' and found that both Boing Boing and Digital Web Magazine featured them.
My observations about this whole experience?
People like to share things that make them look good — If you do something unique and interesting, people love mentioning your work to their friends, especially if it makes them look good. Being the first one to find something cool can earn credibility with a network of friends.
Word of mouth is powerful — I couldn't have planned the path or the speed with which the sketchnotes would have taken any better their own path via word of mouth. This reminds me how powerful word of mouth is. I know in theory how quickly good or bad messages can spread — this experience reinforced it for me.
Share your work with your network to "seed" it — I had several friends who I first shared the sketchnotes with: Twitter friends who attended SXSW and the speakers at the events I covered with my note-taking. I also mentioned them to longer-term friends like Jim at Coudal, Armand at Moleskinerie, as well as newer friends like Matthew & Tiff at Digital Web Magazine, who contacted me prior to SXSW. The old adage that you should build your network before you need it is really true. Having the trust and friendship beforehand makes all the difference.
Creative Commons Licenses Encourages Image Posting — I firmly believe that hosting the sketchtoons on Flickr with a Creative Commons license allowing re-postng with attribution made it super easy for bloggers to include images on their sites. This further encouraged visitors to check out the set, my site and even dig into my archives or email me directly.
Things you do outside your main work can improve your reputation — I'm a professional designer and art director, specializing in logo, web and icon design, yet am gaining notice via sketchnotes. This is a good thing, since my sketchnotes show how I listen, process information, think, analyze information and capture it visually. While completely separate from my professional work, it is at the same time at the very heart of that work, showing how I solve problems for clients.
I'm now considering a few products created from the SXSW Sketchnotes, including an e-book with high res images and added notes, and an on-demand or limited edition printed version of the sketchnotes, for sale to those who would like a copy. If you have interest in either of these items, please leave a message in the comments.
Finally, thanks to everyone who has mentioned and linked to the images, or left comments here or on Flickr. Your kind words have been greatly appreciated! :-)
Photo: John December