Of note is that results vary only modestly by experience level. While 87 percent of engineers with more than 20 years experience don't use social networking to solve problems or find products, 61 percent of rookie engineers (fewer than five years' experience) don't either. More than half of young engineers have never used social networking to request of share technical information while three quarters of the most-experienced engineers haven't.
A marketing problem
Burrowing into the data suggests challenges for electronics industry marketers trying to use social media to engage engineers as potential customers.
Those engineers who can access social networks while on the job spend little time there. More significantly, there are disparities between the platforms engineers like to use and those companies have adopted as part of their marketing strategies.
First off, only 40 percent of our respondents said their companies use social networking tools to communicate with customers and potential customers. Of those that did, 55 percent include Twitter in their arsenal of platforms, yet only 26 percent of engineers pay attention to Twitter. And while 85 percent of engineers are engaged with LinkedIn (the most used social network in our survey universe), slightly less than half the companies use LinkedIn to communicate outside their company.
The tightest correlation is on Facebook, where 60 percent of respondents use Facebook and 66 percent of companies use the network for communications and community building. But while companies generally set up Facebook pages as part of a marketing strategy, it's unclear whether engineers use Facebook for more than family-social connections.
What follows are additional results from the survey:
I truly appreciate the efforts of the author here in defining role of social media in life of engineers. Recently i came to k now about a new social media website which is dedicated to engineers only. I think you all must have a look in it because it can be another step in improving interaction among engineers. URL: http://helloengineers.com/
One thing is for sure. "Different strokes for different folks" is not just a saying that rhymes, it's a saying that people should remember when they think about criticizing someone.
If someone wants to use those sites for their work...GREAT!
If they don't even want to use the sites to connect socially...GREAT!
Do whatever makes you happy and don't worry what others think.
If you want to make it a hobby to visit social sites that's OK or you can pick up a new hobby like woodworking. Check out http://expertwoodworkingplans.com
I've been thinking a bit here about why I personally don't use "social networking sites".
Actually I'm on LinkedIn, but increasingly I think of leaving.
One concern _always_ for me is that they all appear to be a means to generate yet more junk mail and I have far too much of that already.
I certainly use YouTube, but only as a reference. I even considered signing up to send responses, comments, "thank-you"s to people for stuff they've posted, but of course they want my email address. OK, I'm out of here!
But if I take a wider view of what is social networking and include fora and mailing lists, actually I'm on quite a few. The big difference here, I think, is that fora are usually aimed at a relatively narrow field of interest.
I think that it's that very broad-field aspect of "social media" that, to me at least, makes them borderline valueless as something in which to be directly involved.
I guess one of the aspects of engineering life that we all have to manage, is that we're almost always working with large amounts of complex data, and distractions & intrusions just make our tasks more difficult. As a consequence, we can get pretty adept at avoiding them.