Reader Poll Results: How Do You Connect?

Nov. 26, 2012
Utility professionals don’t make much professional use of social media.

A recent survey showed that engineers, in general, don’t use social media much. If they do use, say, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube, they use them mostly for non-technical interactions.

That survey focused on electrical engineers from all specialties so we do not know how well it applies to our readers. We do know that power industry folks are somewhat unique in that many positions in utilities and supporting industries require specialized, hands-on training. You just don’t learn this stuff at the university or trade school. So, social media may play a larger role in the power community.

Boy, were we surprised at how little our readers use social media in their professional work. Ninety percent of respondents said they use social media less than one hour per week for their professional work.

Well, maybe they haven’t tried it? Nope, that’s not the total reason because only about half of the respondents reported that they didn’t use any social media. So about half apparently use social media occasionally at least for reasons not work-related.

When it came to favorite media, LinkedIn was tops, site-related forums second and Facebook third. Twitter scored basically zero.

We’re analyzing the results to figure out the best way to communicate with our readers. As to why engineers and other utility technologists avoid using the popular social media platforms, I can only give my own reasons. I have all of the accounts – Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. I routinely send out info flagging articles that we’re publishing. I respond to direct messages from Twitter and some requests from LinkedIn. There are exceptions – for example, I get valuable Tweets from a few of my coworkers, such as Vito Longo (@unclevito), Technical Editor of T&D World. His usually include a lot of humor, not just re-reporting of a news item. And I only get his tweets every week or so.

I try not to let my professional Facebook page become too public – I don’t want potential embarrassing chatter, obscenities and other worthless nonsense to represent me. My personal Facebook account is visited by family and friends, although I don’t visit it much either, only going there when my email tells me I have a message or notification.

Emails and phone calls work best for me. They give me time and space to think and organize. I like forums where discussions aren’t limited to 150 character replies. And I don’t want my day interrupted by Tweets on my phone. I’m too easily distracted anyway and I need all the focus and brain power I can muster.

We’ll run the poll for another week or so. You can see the complete results and add your two cents by clicking here.

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