For Engineers Social Networks Are Social Not Work

Engineers On Social Media
Engineers On Social Media

It turns out that engineers are just as social on-line as everyone else, but they don’t use social networking for their work.

The last 10 years has seen a proliferation of social networking platforms including Facebook, GooglePlus, LinkedIn,YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr, Flicker, Instagram, Quora and others.

We gathered information from an informal poll of nearly 400 engineers to understand how they view social media and how they use it in their personal and professional lives.

All of the engineers were aware of the various social networking platforms, and nearly 70 percent of the engineers were active daily on at least one. Interestingly, about a third of the engineers felt that social media and social networking platforms were a waste of time and an intrusion into their lives. Privacy was cited as a major concern for why they don’t engage on any social media.

LinkedIn was the most popular site, with nearly all of the engineers reporting they have a profile and use the site regularly. The consensus was that LinkedIn was a “business site”. The prevalent work use for LinkedIn was either for finding a job or recruiting. GooglePlus was also highly ranked as a site for “professional interaction”. Lowest on the list, with less than 10% of the engineers having accounts were Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Flicker.

While there is engagement of engineers on social networking, very few reported that they had used any of these sites in a work related capacity. Engineers did not see much value in either requesting information on these platforms or in sharing their technical works through social media. A common response was “how can anything technical be explained in under 140 characters”.

Many engineers held the opinion that the amount of effort required to create an appropriate request with sufficient details to be meaningful did not balance out with the time required to evaluate any responses received back from the community.

However, nearly all the engineers had engaged with on-line technical support either directly with a supplier / vendor / manufacturer, or through one of their distributors. This included routine tasks such as requesting data sheets, application notes or white papers, through to highly specific questions unique to a particular function of a device. Engineers had high regard for the Applications Engineers (AE) and technical support staff that addressed the questions on their company website.

When asked about how engineers find information related to their work, the most common method was to start with entering key words in a search engine to find relevant suppliers, product reviews, data sheets and research materials.

(Image Credit – Microsoft Free Images)

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