The explosion of electronic devices that surround us greatly influences the way we function, particularly in the area of communication — how we find entertainment, get information and make connections with others. Video screens seem to be everywhere: at work, at home, in the gym, in our cars, at the supermarket, on-the-go with mobile devices, and now even on our bodies with wearable devices. In addition to emails and texting, one of the most popular means of communication enabled by advances in electronics is via social media.
Are you linked in?
While the use of social media for personal interactions abounds and has significantly changed our lexicon (“liking” isn’t what it used to be), the extent of the use of social media for business-to-business purposes has been somewhat less obvious. In a survey of our own readers taken last year, about a third of respondents said they found social media useful to very useful for staying informed about the chemical process industries (CPI). And, the most popular network amongst the well-known platforms was said to be LinkedIn.
A recent survey done by IHS (www.ihs.com) titled “2015 Social Media Use In The Industrial Sector” delves into some detail on the topic. The survey of over 1,300 engineers and technical professionals shows that when it comes to work-related use, 61% of respondents spend only one hour or less per week on social media and 24% spend one to two hours per week. The most popular social media platform was found to be LinkedIn, with 66% of respondents maintaining an account there. LinkedIn was also the most popular choice among the well-known platforms for reading content or product/industry news, following companies or groups, participating in discussions, recommending products and searching for contacts. For posting or sharing images, videos or articles, Facebook took the edge.
The two most popular uses of social media were said to be finding product reviews and keeping on top of latest company news and technologies. When asked about the challenges in using social media, however, 67% of respondents said that methods other than social media were more efficient for work-related purposes and 53% agreed that there was “too much noise and not enough substance” in social media.
Social media has found a prominent place in the industrial sector, as evidenced by our own LinkedIn group that is over 47,000 members strong and our Twitter presence that counts more than 10,000 followers. And while its use is significant, as one of the conclusions in the IHS report states, for engineers, it is not “the go-to digital resource for work.”
In this issue
Valve selection in our Cover Story (pp. 34–42) and planning for waste management in capital projects in our Feature Report (pp. 43–49) are just two of the many topics covered in this issue. You will also find news stories on the pulp-and-paper industry (pp. 16–19) and on high-performance polymers (pp. 20–23), as well as technology news briefs in our Chementator section (pp. 7–13), an article on explosion-protection techniques (pp. 50–54) and much more. We hope you enjoy reading, and find it informative. ■
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