What are you doing?
We’ve been looking at the various things happening on line over the past few months. Generally they are referred to as “social media,” or WEB 2. They are methods of sharing information. The ISA’s Social Media Survey Report (June 2009) gives an interesting insight into automation professionals’ increasing use of these resources.
Basically they seem to be divided into three types of communication. The links provided in the body of this article are WIKI links which gives general information on each of the types of social media. One should be aware that not everything on a WIKI page is always accurate. Links to actual social media sites are included in the box. WIKI itself may be classed as social media of a collaborative nature in that anybody may write or amend the information listed.
The blog has been with us at least since the mid 1990s. This is essentially a sort of diary and they are mostly open to all though there may be restricted access. These have been available for years and nowadays they usually have a space so that readers may post comments which may or may not be moderated by the owner of the blog. The amount of stuff published on blogs is as eclectic as humanity itself.
We use twitter and Linkedin for business and facebook more for family and hobby stuff.
Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life.
Over 40 million professionals use LinkedIn to exchange information, ideas and opportunities
twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?
WIKIPEDIA A free encyclopedia built collaboratively using Wiki software.
Fliker – share your photos!
YouTube – share your videos!
DimDim delivers synchronized live presentations, whiteboards and web pages while sharing your voice and video over the Internet – with no download.
A more recent phenomenon is Facebook (since 2004). Access to most of these pages may be restricted to what are called “friends” who are approved by the facebook page owner. A feature of this is the “Wall”. The Wall is a space on each user’s profile page that allows friends to post messages for the user to see while displaying the time and date the message was written. There is facility for others to comment on matter printed on the page. Pictures and other information may be posted on these pages. To a large extent in effect these pages are used more for personal information than commercial stuff. It would not be the first place one would go for the latest advances in automation!
Much more business oriented is LinkedIn (2003). Not unlike Facebook it facilitates groups and discussions. It’s orientation is far more suitable to serious (as distinct from casual) use.
Finally we come to what I call “instant” communication essentially we are talking about twitter (2006) here (though there are others such as the less business oriented PLURK). These are “open” communication messages which virtually anybody can access. The length is limited though a linkable URL may be used provided the length limit is not exceeded. A subscriber may decide which other subscriber he or she wishes to follow and also may “bar” other subscribers from following them. Thus one can limit the actual stuff that one reads on ones “wall”. In my experience this can be a very useful resource provided you control yourself in the number of people you follow! If you try to follow people in the Automation Industry then there are a few places these can be found. If a search is done #PAuto or #ISA one can find some subscribers to follow (but you’ll have to sign up first!). Because the use of twitter in this area is fairly recent the number of automation professionals online is relatively small – the pioneers one might say. Individuals from companies like Emerson, Wonderware, TAG are leading the way as are journalists notably Walt Boyes, Gary Mintchell and our humble selves! As a publisher I have had a few useful leads from this resource in the past month alone.
Multimedia sharing (photographs, videos, webconferencing and music) may be shared also using freely available facilities. YouTube in particular is beginning to be used extensively by companies.
In using all these facilities one should always be aware of the openess of the medium being used. It is easily accessible to anybody. Even where one tries to put a restriction on access it is best to assume that everybody cann see it. Your competitors among others.
The presentations especially designed for ISA Volunteers and presented by Jon di Pietro and Shari Worthington at Indianapolis in the Summer are a useful resource for people who want to understand what’s what in cyberspace! These may be found on Jon’s Slideshare pages.
Another resource where you can follow the progress of social media is SocialMediaToday a moderated blog on social media for the business community.
Welcome to cyberia!!