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Social media discussion at ESC Boston

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Jamie Furness
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re: Social media discussion at ESC Boston
Jamie Furness   10/27/2010 4:46:21 PM
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Not sure I agree that engineers want to separate 'social' media from 'work' media. The stigma that seems attached to facebook is one of play, as opposed to linkedin as one of contacts for future job/work opportunities. Twitter is an interesting one, and seems to serve as a medium to both of the above worlds with personal 'what am i doing' for facebook, compared to 'career development' or 'actual job opportunities', the latter usually with attached to bit.ly link (getting round the 140 word limit). Personally I have no particular desire to update my friends on my whereabouts or my thoughts, and although I'm happy to use linked in to alert my contacts to potential opportunties, this is done rarely, usually when I'm bored (career development) or need direct help (job). However, with the increasing use of social media, there does appear to be a 3rd use, if not a 4th and 5th. Updating my direct business contacts (customers, colleagues, suppliers) with interesting product developments, associated events and relevant organisational changes is something I now pay attention to, and found myself 'following' companies as opposed to individuals on twitter, and also using twitter to update my profile/status on the increasing number of networks I find myself on (linkedin mainly, but also plaxos and xing). At Premier Farnell, we have gone a stage further and started up our own social community, in attempt to have a space dedicated to the industry (www.element14.com), and to electronic design engineers in particular. I can use Twitter to update my profile on here also, which is more to tell my followers about product changes from our leading manufacturers. We have found on element14, that engineers, previously unknown to each other, are now conversing about products and/or technologies, be it the latest development from ARM, to the newest sensing product from Analog Devices for example. I think we need to keep our minds open to this type of communication in our workplace.

ylshih
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re: Social media discussion at ESC Boston
ylshih   10/1/2010 4:23:58 AM
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Different channels serve different purposes. Twitter has frequent small messages, I think most engineers think the SNR is almost zero. Facebook also has low SNR, but mostly because once you're on Facebook, you're encouraged to make many connections and use many functions (photos, walls, messages, groups, games, etc) so even one message per day per connection means the number of Facebook events proliferates to too high a level. LinkedIn is useful because it's more of a contact list; there's usually no daily activity. Ultimately, we all have to manage the information flow we receive daily and for me that means high message rate channels need to be allocated to a very select few, while low rate channels can have a much larger population.

alkey3
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re: Social media discussion at ESC Boston
alkey3   9/25/2010 9:16:48 PM
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I am both a technical program mananger and an active electronics design engineer. Here are my thoughts on some of the social media outlets. Twitter: Yawn... I have yet to find ANY value here. Really, I have tried again and again. Facebook: Social, yes. Professional, no. The signal/noise ratio is just to low to be useful. They offer the benefit of supporting a variety of media solutions (blog, video, photo, etc) so you don't need to have your own web site. LinkedIn: Useful for maintaining past contacts (as stated above) and Passive Job seeking. LI could REALLY benefit by picking up some of the faceboook techniques for members to host their media here. Maintaining a website presence, video archive, and blog space all on one spot would be a big plus for the site. Finally, one item seldom mentioned is online contente overload. How many RSS feeds, e-mail newsletters, on-line subscriptions, etc crownd for you attention? This is major challenge for me since I love new learning, but it usually just overwhelms me. So I am constantly unsubscribing only to find something new to add. If you have any thoughts on this one I am all ears (and eyes). ;-)

Test_engineer
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re: Social media discussion at ESC Boston
Test_engineer   9/25/2010 8:01:21 PM
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Exactly!! What we have here with Twitter is more proof of the dumbing down of civilization. And a few words about recruiters (so-called)who look for talent using social media: most of them are idiots who don't have a clue about scientific, engineering or technical issues.

Sean Murphy
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re: Social media discussion at ESC Boston
Sean Murphy   9/24/2010 6:35:00 AM
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You are running a media business so it's natural to be proficient at both established and emerging media. There is certainly a lot of value in a number of discussion boards or forums for design engineers. and there are a number of blogs that post quality technical content. It's difficult to see how much useful technical can be compressed into 140 characters for a tweet. I think most designers are very pragmatic about how they allocate their time, if you can demonstrate a use case for twitter that adds value to one or more of the tasks that they need to complete their project I think they would be all over it. You don't offer any examples of how twitter has helped or might help a designer engineer get their job done. Perhaps that's the best place to start instead of lamenting a perceived lack of curiosity. Sean Murphy http://www.skmurphy.com/

Duane Benson
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re: Social media discussion at ESC Boston
Duane Benson   9/22/2010 7:18:03 PM
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In my experience, hardware engineers tend to very pragmatic about media and communications. It needs to be at the engineers command, concise and functional. And therein lies the problem. Outbound email is not at the engineer's command. Facebook is loaded with noise; everybody doing virtual farming or mafia or some such drivel like that. Twitter is too limited by the 140 character limit, and it too tends to be generously spiced with wasted words. I've been using twitter for a while now (twitter.com/pcbassembly) but I'm still not really convinced of the value. I can see potential, but all too often, I'll start to follow someone that sends out valuable links or worthwhile tidbits, only to un-follow them a week or so later because amongst the good bits is a load of comments about coffee or referrals to some specific one-on-one conversation without any context. Maybe we could have two twitters. One for real information and one for: "I ate food today." Two Facebooks. One for Farmville, Pigville Mafiaville and one for actual social networking. Maybe that's what Linkedin is for - just business. However, I think it's a myth that a friend of a friend of a former colleague of my uncle's brother can have any sense of credibility through that long chain. Social media has potential, but I don't see it as being ready to suit the typical hardware engineer's needs.

Charles.Desassure
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re: Social media discussion at ESC Boston
Charles.Desassure   9/22/2010 1:28:44 AM
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Thanks for your article, but I really don’t understand why engineers need to use social media as a group. Or why this is such a big issue for some people? Trust me, everyone do not use Face Book. Everyone doesn’t have a Twitter account. There are many professional areas where social media is not being used regularly. People use social media for fun or just to share information. So, if you are an engineer and you have time to use a social media site, good for you. Otherwise, please leave the other engineers who do not use social media alone. These engineers are not falling behind in the area of technology because there are many outlets available these days to obtain good information. So, please…give it a rest.

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