Welcome to the Wild West of the Web

Are you part of the Twitterverse and other social media outlets? If not, you and your engineering firm may be missing out.

By Amara Rozgus July 16, 2014

One of the greatest—and some would say worst—inventions of the 1960s was the precursor to the World Wide Web. ARPANET, the Advanced Research Projects Agency at the Dept. of Defense, was a way for universities and research institutions to electronically share information across a network. TCP/IP (transmission control protocol/Internet protocol) is still the basis for the Web today, and it has matured beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.

The Web is ubiquitous. We can’t get away from it. How much we use it is dictated by our jobs and our personal needs. But it really is the Wild West—just think about the information, both good and bad, that you can find by conducting a search via one of the many search engines. (Egosurf your name some day—you’ll be interested in what you find.)

For example, our data show that the Consulting-Specifying Engineer audience is online quite frequently—you spend an average of 30 minutes each time you visit www.csemag.com. In a recent study, you’ve indicated that you also use online catalogs and directories (84.5%), supplier and vendor websites (81.6%), and educational webcasts/webinars (65.9%).

In addition to the above, what else are you using the Web for? Most of you are not yet part of the Twitterverse; I’ve had conversations with several engineers who don’t even know what Twitter is or why it exists. On the flipside, many engineering firms’ marketing and communications teams are using Twitter (and Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+) to showcase their engineers’ projects, highlight the company’s success stories, and post job openings.

The concept of a hashtag may be foreign to you, but you cannot ignore it. According to a recent blog posted on the Marketing to Engineers website, four criteria must be met when creating a hashtag. This same blog details why you should care about Google+, how to enhance your website’s SEO (search engine optimization), and marketing automation.

So what’s in it for you? More recognition, for one. If clients cannot find you, they cannot hire you. Second, you can connect with other engineers, manufacturers, or related individuals and companies. By using social media and other online avenues, you can share challenges and successes. Third, by ensuring you’re seen in multiple online formats, you’ve increased the number of ways to be found. This is relevant both for individuals (see egosurfing, above) and for entire firms.

The caveat is that because it is the Wild West out there, no one has all the answers on how to make their profile or hashtag or website hugely successful. The best we can do is ensure that our Web presence meets our own personal needs, whatever they may be. 

Share your thoughts on your personal or professional Web use via our social media outlets, using the hashtag #CSEfeedback:

Author Bio: Amara Rozgus is the Editor-in-Chief/Content Strategy Leader