Although the usage of social networking is still in its early stages, it is very widespread. You may use Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, or Linkedin. You probably use it for non-business reasons like to stay in touch with family and friends or maybe to stay current with business and professional colleagues.
However, there is a tremendous potential for these tools for business usage on a regular basis. Being involved in a user group on any of the social network programs is a way for individuals of common interest to share ideas, information about events, and more.
Linkedin currently has more than 40 million users representing 150 industries around the world. It appears to be the fastest-growing professional network that allows members to create business contacts with people they meet, find professional clients, and more. Individuals have the ability to create and update their own profile that can be viewed by others in the network. Check out Linkedin and the other networks for more information on how they work.
Our Research Manager, Julie Ritchie, conducted a survey last year to determine the usage of social networking by design engineers. In the study, she asked the respondents if they used social networking for business, which ones, did they find them useful, and whether they used them for leisure. Keeping in mind that this study is now about 9 months old and things change rapidly, the results showed that the large majority of respondents did not use these programs for business but did use them for leisure a little more. The survey will be updated and benchmarked in 2010. The findings will probably show increases in business and leisure usage.
We will probably see a change in networking as cell phones become “smarter” and devices like the i-pad become more proliferated. It is just too easy to stay in touch electronically and it will catch on. Additionally, users will mix how they get information from all sources such as newspapers, magazines, and other networks with their networking and connecting to friends, business associates, customers, suppliers, and others.
The point is that electronic communications will continue to increase. Along with the rapid growth of electronic communications, social networking will increase including networking for professionals reasons. We have not yet quite figured out how to best utililize the power of social networking for marketing and other business purposes but it is coming.
So get networked, stay in touch, get more information and more readily available and useful content. We will be a part of this evolution and, in fact, we already are. We have blogs and forums for you in fluid power and if you have not already checked them out, please go to our website at www.hydraulicspneumatics.com