I have to say myself and my friends use twitter for our personal lives (i.e. tweeting interesting things, especially photos, that you see throughout the course of your day). I don't use twitter a whole lot professionally although I do see the utility in such.
As an engineer in their late 20s, what I see is that a majority of the 40+ (or even 35+) demographic is slow to realize the revolution that is social networking and smartphones. They'll come around.
Since I don't have a "smart Phone" I guess none of these networks will work for me. I have not used them, nor do I plan to in the future. I have no reason/incentive to. I can't keep up with three email accounts which are overburdened with subscribed newsletters and mail. How would anyone keep up with such things as social networks as well?
Currently I do not have the time to Twitter or Facebook as most of my day is spent working at a job (for pay). When I am not at work I use the time to catch up on personal emails, my family, news, and learning the next tool/technology that I will need. I can see that Twitter could be useful but it seems too much like High School kids communication instead of meaningful dialog. Granted I am not on Twitter or Facebook and steadfastly refuse to join. I have also seen unintended consequences with using Facebook/Twitter: a year ago there was a major event in a family that we were close to; friends of theirs learned early on of the situation and posted it online (one of the kids) only to find out that many of the relatives had not been called by the family. They found out about their family's tragedy from their kids online Facebook/Tweets instead of the parents. Very hard way to learn about something so personal. So, as you can imagine I am not a fan (sorry!).
antiquus --- I agree that the target audience is very important, so what if you could include ONLY your design team in the tweet, and not anyone who wants to receive the tweet (in essence having a focused twitter group not accessible to anyone else). I'm not actually a fan of the whole twitter concept myself, just throwing out some ideas on how it might be of use to engineers. Letting the entire world have access to your tweets I believe is definitely be a bad idea, and not what I was suggesting.
@phoenixdave -- the ability to target your audience is very important, so I would disagree with you. For example, the word "problem" when used by an engineer usually becomes "crisis" to the marketing guy. The things I might tweet to my technical colleagues would not be appropriate for my sales and marketing teammates, especially if they were closely tied to the customer or outside world.
Imagine, for example, that BP engineers tweeted all their idea proposals for plugging that well. Not only would the world have a field day picking them apart, but there would be legal ramifications for rejecting the "correct" answer that was submitted in the general tweeting of new ideas, or if the idea that was perceived as "best" in the monday-morning analysis. You might as well tie your engineers' EKG readouts to your stock price and legal department.
Tweeting for engineers is too much risk, and companies should avoid it. The world is too judgmental.
Well let's think of a few examples of how engineers might utilize Twitter in their professional lives.
What if you were part of a design team and during your assigned task found a critical data error or glitch that might affect the work of other team members, so you needed to get the information to ALL of them as quickly as possible? Obviously you could use a mass email, but if you are like many engineers you receive so many emails each day that you only check them when necessary.
If you had a Twitter design project group and instant notification via a cellphone alert you would likely receive the message much more quickly, potentially saving a lot of time and rework.
Any other ideas???
I suspect Twitter doesn't have much use for most of the engineers that posted either. Wake up! Think of all the engineering jobs related to sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn that WON'T be hiring you because you're too busy watching the world pass you by.
Awesome tweet Eric. I agree with your 3 reasons engineers will eventually like Twitter, and I liked your 6 simple steps to get started.
I will check out the list of tweeps when I have time, but meanwhile it's good to know that Meego will be released in October.
Thanks again for the high SNR tweet!
You're the man! (or woman!) Twitter is just one way to communicate with people. Like with any other form of communication, people will stop listening if you don't have anything valuable to say. There's plenty of marketing noise out there, but since I follow only people that I want to hear from, my SNR is super high. Businesses struggle with Twitter because all they really want to do is sell stuff. I use Twitter to connect with engineers and talk about our lifestyle...and if by some extension engineers associate me with National Instruments, then it's a slight win for my company's "geek cred." That being said, if you ever catch me blatantly plugging our products, you are welcome to seek me out and punch me in the neck.