re: "It is not so much that engineers are anti-social" I think there's a widely held perception that engineers are anti-social, but that hasn't really been my experience - maybe software engineers :-)
In my experience, it's more a case that engineers tend to not like to waste time on unworthy causes. Gossip about J-lo-bennifer-pitts-hilton or whomever really doesn't have any bearing on anything important at all. I'd much, much rather hear about someone solving a difficult problem, creating something useful or landing on Mars.
Historically much of social media has been the former, but I think the filters and such are giving it more of the latter content these days.
Great way to put it Duane, "The signal to noise ratio seems to be going up." I would go farther and say that the signal to noise ratio is whatever you want it to be. Social media have almost become like channels where you can "subscribe" to what interests you, whether that be the latest gadgets from your favorite tech companies or finding out where your friends are eating lunch :)
It is not so much that engineers are anti-social, its that engineers like to solve problems by dealing with the real causes, not the percieved issues.
Most social sites slog on about everyones opinion rather than admit where the real prolems and solution space exists.
As an engineer, I have better things to do than play the blame game. We need to go beyond political correctness and place blame where it lies.
We can fix any problem once we get consensus on an acceptable course of action. Social discussions always end up either deadlocked on ideology or a failure to admit the truth.
Just my opinion.
Yes, I agree. I don't think enough Engineers use Social Media. Some do, but they get bogged down in their own little projects and need to do more research on their own, so they ask the right questions.
Initially, there was too much "I ate a Cheetoo" for the tools to be of much use. But, like so many things, social media can be used well or misused. Further, it's a pretty multi-purpose medium. Even though the major social media sites are corporations, the come off more like an infrastructure or public utility,as in the electric grid or the Interstate highway system.
Not that Facebook and Twitter are as important as the electric grid - yet. There was a time when there were dozens of competing email systems. Most didn't connect up to anything outside of individual corporate networks. Today, who could survive without email?
The current popular social media sites may not be the ones we'll be using in a decade, but the concept will find its purpose, both at home and in the commercial world.
As far as the present goes (March, 2013), I think more engineers are finding use in social media. The signal to noise ratio seems to be going up. That and people are getting better at filtering out the drivel.
Interesting article, the thing that caught me by surprise was the connection between being an entrepreneur and having a social media presence/reputation. I would not have expected that but in these days it makes sense, how else would someone know about you (enough to invest) otherwise?