29 January 2009 - 22:30Making Local Freelancers More Visible
Here’s a problem I’ve been pondering for the last few months, maybe you can say if my idea has legs…
This year I’ll be expanding my ProCasts at a rate of knots. I intend to partner with a set of great freelancers (particularly animators and 2D designers) – but how do I find them?
The obvious answer here in Brighton is to attend BrightonFarm (I am – thanks Paul), but only a subset of all of Brighton’s (and near-by) creatives will attend. How else do I find out who is active? One excellent creative I’m meeting tomorrow doesn’t attend the Farm, I only heard about him through a personal recommendation.
What if I want to contact freelancers who’d never attend the Farm (BrightonFarm tends to attract web-devs but not, say, legal folk or niche non-web programmers)? I guess it is back to asking around, reading directories and finding those who are great at marketing themselves.
A case in point – via my liaising with Sussex Uni I’m told that a couple of very smart algorithmic/Matlab/research chaps are looking for ‘tough problems to solve’. I could direct them to the Farm but that’s not really the right locale and I can’t think of any other obvious place where they could say ‘hey, I’m available, here’s what I do!’. Instead they remain (as far as I can tell) in obscurity and that’s just a darn shame.
An ‘active freelancer’ listing?
Something interesting happens when freelancers are more visible – more collaborations will result. This helps build further resilience into our local economy and brings the skills of other’s a bit closer to us.
I suspect that SMEs as well as freelancers would benefit by noticing the skills that were on offer – just the act of making the skills visible would remind people of the range and depth of knowledge that’s available down here.
WiredSussex has a jobs-board and a projects-board and ProjectBrighton has a jobs-board – how about adding a freelancers-board? A simple RSS feed that I can watch would let me see who’s active and available. At the very least it would spark new conversations, at best it would help us point work at the right people and strengthen relationships.
WiredSussex have a freelancers showcase but Luke tells me it isn’t actively supported. A twitter-like solution wouldn’t need any support time…
Filtered, restricted postings?
Spammy rubbish would be useless of course – so why not control the listing and only allow registered Brightonian’s to post? You’d only want occasional posts too to keep the signal:noise ratio high, perhaps I’d describe what I offered and what I was after and I’d only get to do so twice a year.
After setup we’d see a few posts a week – easy enough to keep an occasional eye on. As a bonus, if a central authority can kill your right to post if you misbehave then you won’t mess around with spammy tactics – again keeping the signal clean.
If the listing is read by many (WiredSussex’s audience is pretty large down here) then those characters would count, making it worth spending time crafting a decent entry. It would be a sort of ‘twitter-for-active-freelancers‘.
Does the idea have legs? Any freelancers care to comment on whether being more visible would increase their chance of finding work? Any non-freelancers think it’ll be useful to keep tabs on who’s active and what skills are locally available?
Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in Mor Consulting, founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.