Engineering a new way to network

Social networking websites allow users to find information and interact with colleagues, including DOE Secretary Steven Chu and CSE editors.

By Eli Kaberon July 22, 2009

Want to become friends with U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu? All you have to do is find him on Facebook .

Chu’s new profile- launched on July 21 according to the Wall Street Journal -will promote the DOE’s legislation by sharing videos and articles concerning climate change and energy efficiency. The secretary’s presence on the site highlights the impact that social networking websites have had on engineering, building ownership, and energy efficiency. More and more, people across the country and world are connecting via sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Some log on for social reasons, such as connecting with colleagues located in other cities, but a lot of business is done on the sites. For example, on Consulting-Specifying Engineer’s LinkedIn group , the 72 members include multiple professional engineers, presidents, and CEOs of consulting and engineering companies, and the entire magazine staff. Within the group, discussions about editorial content and engineering news are taking place, making it a valuable community tool for all parties looking to stay current with what the publication and its readers are doing.

Another popular way to share information to a mass audience is Twitter . Chu himself does not have a profile, but a search for his name listed many hits, also known as Tweets, thank to his appearance on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" on July 21. By expanding his reach to these social networking sites, the DOE has increased its exposure to interested parties.

CSE is doing the same . Editor-in-chief Michael Ivanovich and senior editor Amara Rozgus are both on Twitter, constantly updating followers on engineering news. The profiles fill the same need as Chu’s, allowing the editors to stay in communication with readers all across the country.