International Print Day – did you enjoy it?

International Print Day – did you enjoy it?
Using social media to promote #IPD14 was appropriate, Baden Kirgan says.

You probably didn’t even know International Print Day was on, and if you did it was probably only as a result of reading some of the articles on the ProPrint news site telling you that you didn’t know it was on.

So what was it all about? A bunch of print people promoting print and sharing their knowledge globally on social media. If you do not think that is something worth paying attention to, then you are falling behind.

IPD14 grew out of the #PrintChat community, a group of printers and print enthusiasts on Twitter. Started by Quad Graphics and since 2012 run by American Deborah Corn, principal at the Print Media Centre (www.printchat. printmediacentr.com), #PrintChat is a question and answer session held on Twitter every Thursday morning Australian time.

Every week Corn and chat moderator Sandy Hubbard run a question and discussion session on Twitter. Usually the questions revolve around problems that all of us in print face and everyone tries to give real world examples of how they have addressed them. Anyone following the #PrintChat hashtag can chime in with answers.

The most recent discussion was about how you would use your print expertise to grow a new marijuana shop. Sounds potentially silly and #PrintChat does dress the issues up with doses of irreverence, but the first question – “how do you convince a business already using a cheap online print and design vendor to switch to your bricks and mortar store?” is a tough problem we all have to deal with. You can all email me your solutions on that one, and good customer service or cheaper prices will not be accepted.

The numbers taking part in #PrintChat are extraordinary and growing – last week’s chat generated more than 1200 tweets delivered to almost six million timelines. The IPD14 figures are even more astounding, with 1200 participants sending some 8500 tweets to 23 million timelines.

When you think about the number of printing companies in Australia (is it down to 1500 yet?), those numbers look even more impressive.

The Australian contingent is pretty small – Stephanie Gaddin from the interesting Dolphinworx SAAS MIS is the most prominent voice and from what I can see she is doing a great job of building her brand in the US just by being an interesting contributor. There are others clearly paying attention and occasionally joining in like Alan Dixon, Theo Pettaras and Inky McFee. And while the non-daylight savings chats have been too early to get up for, now it is back on at a respectable time @badenkirgan tries not to miss it.

It is a lot of fun and you find some great information. When I was looking for a web-to-print solution I mentioned it in #PrintChat and the owners of several excellent web platforms I had never heard of got in touch. Owners mind you, not sales reps or resellers – in the US the online print community is taken seriously by industry leaders.

And that is kind of what I enjoy most about the online print community– there are some really impressive print people putting some really great information out there on social media, people who are interested in where print is going and are actively searching out its future online collaboratively. Things like #PrintChat and IPD14 attract them and you should be there with them.

Next month I am going to fill you in on some of the people in print doing a great job on social media, both here and abroad, and try to show you why it is more than something to do while you are waiting outside a client’s office.

But that’s four #PrintChats away – get on Twitter and see what I mean.

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