Social media is sneaking up on you

Just had a chance to listen to the EDAC panel on Social Media, and again IMHO, Brian Fuller captures my attention with a tidbit out of left field.  And even he didn't catch it.

Brian threw up a slide showing where engineers get their information and again it beat the dead horse that the two top vote getters were company websites and colleagues.  Brian even tossed social media away as almost an anomaly.

But buried in that information was a real nugget.  The numbers showed that corporate websites have actually dropped a percentage point year to year as a source of information for engineers.  Still number 1 but a slip.  Colleagues maintain the same percentage.  Print was down 20 percent, no big surprise there.  Trade shows are down 1 percent.  And social media scrapes the bottom of the barrel... at first glance.

But look at the numbers year to year and then consider the growth rate.  If you combine blogs, RSS feeds and social media networks like Facebook, there is a 100 percent growth rate year to year... correlating to the drop in websites, print and ... wait for it ... trade shows.

Later in his talk, Brian called for patience and foresight regarding social media.  In another slide he points out that in 1994, it was "illegal" for engineers to go outside the firewall of their own company so they could not read the first news.  Today,  EE Times online presence is the driving platform for its network.  That graphic, combined with the hidden nugget, tells me that the people who are most reticent to use social media now, will probably be the one on social security or hunting for a job in the food industry service in the next five years.