Portrait of Philip Proefrock photo credit: Hugh Pierce

I was writing to Hugh, my friend and former classmate at Cranbrook and discussing how we could find some of the people we knew and went to school with, but others seem to have disappeared. Online presence is a more hit-or-miss kind of thing. Here’s part of what I wrote:

I think we’re on the edge of a divide, especially people like you and me. We are of a generation that sits on the technological divide. For people a generation younger than us, not being online is almost unthinkable. You have e-mail accounts for school and very often other accounts for contacting friends and the like; you participate in various kinds of online activity, and you have an electronic footprint. People a generation older than us may have a business e-mail, but are often not busy creating a digital presence for themselves. They don’t see any importance in it, and they don’t bother. Our generation is kind of transitional (and that’s even being generous, the true point of this transition is probably even several years younger than we are, but since it’s a broad characterization, I think we fit within that 20 year swath that defines the transition, even if we’re at the grey end of it); for us, some people get it and have online presences, others don’t. So there are some friends we can find, and some who don’t show up that readily.
I’m hoping to utilize my relative technophilia in establishing my business. Having an online presence, having a blog for my firm (for which, I think, you are one of the very few readers I have at this point), all the things I’m doing will help people know that I am out there, that I’m available to work on their projects, and gives them a chance to see what kinds of projects I do. Maybe there will be some self-selection away from me by people who think I don’t do their kind of project, but they would be even less likely to have come to me if I didn’t have an online presence. I think I will make myself more accessible by putting myself forward in the way that I have. If someone sees all that I have made available and still decides I’m not the person they want to hire, then I’m probably not going to be able to change their mind anyhow.

Having a blog for my practice is an opening to let potential clients see my work and get to know about me beforehand. Ideally, I am hoping that by discussing and documenting projects here, I can make the process less intimidating and more accessible for people who might want to hire me, and give them a chance to understand who it is that they may be hiring.

Also, in the category of It’s a Small World, he sent a few scanned pictures along with the e-mail including the one above. This picture was taken at the house where my friends Joe & Lisa still live, and it is that house which is the first project for my new practice.