Wonder out loud how many engineers use social media one day and the next day the RSS feed delivers an answer. GlobalSpec’s Marketing Maven says “not many, not yet:”
Yet some engineers are using social media. After visiting a supplier Web site, 20% viewed a Webinar, 10% listened to a podcast and 9% joined an online discussion group or responded to a blog. While these percentages are not high, part of the reason may be that few suppliers are deploying social media in their marketing communications efforts. According to the 2008 GlobalSpec Marketing Trends Survey, only 2% of suppliers are using podcasts and 6% are using blogs. 14% are using Webinars.
How true that “few suppliers are deploying social media.” Blogging is the elder statesman of social media, but other the Emerson and Siemens, no major industrial automation supplier is using it, let alone the more recent innovations in social media. Why not? Is it the lack of metrics? If I’m the boss, how do I justify spending money on a full time blogger? Or are big companies just afraid of losing control? I can imagine Dilbert’s company’s elaborate approval process workflow completely destroying the timeliness of information and removing any meaning.
There has been some suggestion in the comments (and emails I’ve received) that the use of social media is a young person’s game. If we are to encourage those young engineering replacements of the retiring geezers, the suppliers need to fully embrace social media. I personally see in the arrival of the youngsters an advantage for PROFIBUS and PROFINET. They are much more comfortable using a computer to gain insight into what’s happening on a network. (“Multimeter? Multimeter? We don’t need no stinking multimeter!”)
One point that has been glossed over in the social media discussion is the goal of this social media; namely to foster a sense of community. As the marketing Maven said in “What Role Should Social Media Have in Your Marketing Mix?”: “Online communities and discussion groups have been around for a long time, but have become more popular the last few years as more people are online and broadband has become pervasive.”
Hmm, “for a long time?” Anyone out there use the Wonderware CompuServe forum? The CompuServe Automation forum? (Besides me? We’re only talking 15 years ago.)
For more on “Community” follow the Vovici blog for posts like this one.
Finally, for those (two) of you who feared I was considering abandoning the PROFIblog: Fear not! I blog for the same reason Don Dodge of Microsoft blogs (as recorded on the HubSpot blog): “I really enjoy blogging. It make me think clearly, makes me think deeper and more objectively, and satisfies my need to communicate.”