The Dribbble Dilemma

While I am touching on the design network of Dribbble in this post, what I talk about really concerns all social media sources and the way we choose to use them in our day-to-day lives. The rise of social networks, beginning with Facebook, has changed the way we live our lives, communicate, and expect to interact with other human beings. I believe all social networks are similar to marriage, where as a user you progress through the honeymoon, newlywed, and troubled times phases (if you’re married you know what I’m talking about).

What Is Dribbble?

Dribbble is a selective community for designers to post image snippets of projects they are working on. When I describe it to others I typically call it Instagram for designers. Dribbble runs on an invite only system, so anyone can sign up and view work, but can’t participate or actually post work until they are drafted by a player. In case you haven’t caught on, Dribbble uses basketball terminology for everything (pretty cool!).

As an active player you can post shots of your work, 400px by 300px images. The idea of limiting the allowed size is interesting in that very few things will actually fit in such a frame, requiring works to either be scaled, cropped, or small. In some ways the frame requirements can be enlightening or frustrating. Dribbble, like many other social networks, allows users to Follow others, Like images, collect, comment, and much more.

So What’s The Deal?

There seems to be a steady critique of Dribbble going on in the design community. People complaining that the system is flawed, the work is a sham, designers are lazy and thieves. There are two main points of contention that I hear mentioned again and again:

  1. Fake Work. Seemingly some people have a huge problem with the design of super slick, cool looking stuff that ain’t real. Or uninvited redesigns, or super glossy skeuomorphic icons, and of course don’t forget angle photos. The question is why do you get so upset over what a stranger designs or the way they present their work? or whether it will be a real, published project or just a learning experience?
  2. Comments. I hear complaints of how comments are useless, self-serving, and clogged with “atta boys”.

The Culprit Is…

It seems like every other week I see a new article published about how Dribbble is doing it wrong, or someone on Facebook says they are deleting their account or will be taking a break for two weeks. People blame the platform, but overlook the root cause of the issue.

What if, instead of pointing fingers and blaming the other guy (or social network), we look to ourselves for the change we want to see!? Do you think comments on Dribbble are pointless? What should comments be? Okay, now how can you make that happen! Choose to take the first step in the change that you want to see. Make a goal to meaningfully provide comments on one post a day, or specifically ask for input from the community on your next shot and start a dialogue .

Don’t forget Facebook. Facebook can easily be a huge time drain, we’ve all been there, wasting hours scrolling through post and pictures. How can that change? What if, instead of wasting 30 minutes looking at nothing on Facebook you decide to do something meaningful on Facebook with the time. Post something interesting and start a conversation. Intentionally write messages and posts to friends that maybe you haven’t spoken to in a while. Something I’ve been trying to do lately (haven’t been super good at it) is saying Happy Birthday to people, it’s that simple. I even like to post silly birthday pictures that I find on Google Image.

The Future

What I’m trying to say is that if you don’t like something, change it. There is no one way to use Facebook, Dribbble, Twitter, Instagram (or apply this line of thought to anything not just web products). If you’re complaining then you are not part of the solution you are the problem, and the world has too many real problems to focus on then worrying about comments on a social network.

As always if you have thoughts leave a comment or find me on Twitter at @calebsylvest, or find me on Dribbble!

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