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.


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.)

Amara RozgusFor 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:

No comments
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
HVAC and building envelope: Efficient, effective systems; Designing fire sprinkler systems; Wireless controls in buildings; 2015 Product of the Year winners
2015 MEP Giants: MEP Giants annual report; Mergers and acquisitions; NFPA 2001; Fiber-optic cables; LED specifications
Hospital IAQ: Indoor air quality in health care facilities; NFPA 72; Water use and conservation; Net-zero buildings
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Implementing microgrids: Controlling campus power generation; Understanding cogeneration systems; Evaluating UPS system efficiency; Driving data center PUE, efficiency
Optimizing genset sizing; How the Internet of Things affects the data center; Increasing transformer efficiency; Standby vs. emergency power in mission critical facilities
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.