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Practical Social Media Part 3 of 3


Social Media activities

Here is Part 1 and Part 2 if you are joining late.

In my last two posts, I mentioned doing part of a presentation on social media for Siemens. One of the slides I presented (above) was a typical work day.  My day is not that scheduled but this could easily be  a real day for me. You can see how social media (red) is woven through my day.

I also gave a list of some practical things that have helped me be more efficient (updated a bit to keep up with the times).

  • Don’t make social media a task.  Make it something you do between tasks and avoid creating new interruptions.

  • Use social media apps (e.g. Tweetdeck or similar for Twitter, Facebook app for your smart phone) for quick direct access.

  • Create single click links to your social media sites.  Clicking and checking can be done in less than 30 seconds.

  • For CAD productivity, the biggest bang for the buck you can get is by adding a second monitor and I’m willing to bet it is the same for social media. Park your social media apps next to outlook and leave behind inefficient iconifing  and window cycling.

  • Make use of unused snippets of time like while waiting in line, at the doctors office, half time at the football game, while doing an FEA solve, etc.

  • Too busy for Twitter?  Check out apps like Twinbox that let you use use twitter from Outlook. At the minimum have your DM’s and mentions show up in Outlook. (thanks to John Chowner for this tip)

  • It’s a mole hill, not a mountain. Don’t think you need to do it all and follow it all.  Just because you heard a good idea by the coffee pot doesn’t mean you should put your desk there (however, do try to check in once a day)

  • •IMHO The first 30 minutes you spend in social media is valuable.  The second 30 minutes is less valuable, the third is even less valuable. Know when your time is better spent elsewhere.

  • Leverage what you know and what you are interested in. Facebook is easier if your kids (or parents!) are already there.

  • Don’t talk about what you don’t know.  Don’t pick fights.  Don’t be defensive.

  • Be helpful.

Finally, I’ll wrap up with some final thought that came from the latest “What the f**k is social media” slide share presentation.

  1. Listen

  2. Engage

  3. Be Real

  4. Be Respectful

  5. Have Fun

In my opinion, too many people in business forget some of these  (and yes, having fun is important).

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Nice series, Mark. I concur that when you fill in the small slices of time to check in on Twitter or skim a post (for those that don't, start using RSS - it makes your life much easier!), it doesn't seem like all that much extra. And I concur - use tools that reduce the friction. Can't check Twitter x times a day? At least stay on top of the @ messages and DMs using one of the tools above. There are ways to stay connected and still get other work done. Lastly, you wrote something that is very dear to -me - don't look at this like another task. Instead, look at it like another tool to get your job done, whatever it is that you do.
Alan, good point. For most of us, our job is not social medial. Social media can be thought of as a collection of tools for us to do our job better.
Mark, this is great advice for marketers and social media authors, but I'd bet there is a different set of advice you might give to lurkers - people who mainly read rather than write. The loop I get caught up in frequently is trying to string together conversations on Twitter. I find this to be a waste of time, so I don't participate in that as much as in other things. I find conversations - back and forth - is more valuable than one-off declarations, the staple at Twitter. Blogs allow you to express or receive a more complete, developed idea, but they take much more time. To me the deeper level of information is worth the extra time.

Thanks for writing this up. Very interesting.
Thanks, Matt.

I agree it can be a pain following the asynchronous discussion on twitter if you are not there as it happens.I think twitter is better for the initial connection and getting the URLs that lead to the blogs where the real conversations happen.

I would hate to write a post that says "Hey, CAD user here is how you should use social media." I can really only write about what I know. At the same time, I don't think this post is really for marketing or social media folks either. If its useful for anyone, i hope it is more the non-marketing folks that just want to better connect with the people that user their products.

What I'd really like to see is you or one of the other serious CAD users do a post on how they use social media. That would be better than someone doing it from second hand info and would probably help CAD vendor stay grounded too.

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Assuming I fit your definition of 'serious CAD user'...
I use social media (Twitter and FaceBook) to keep in touch with fellow bloggers/users from around the country, ask/answer questions regarding SolidWorks, and to keep up with announcements from SolidWorks. I use Twitter to also announce when I put up a new post on my blog.
I use FaceBook to also stay in touch with my family on the east coast. I stay away from all the games, polls and "I heart" BS.

I'm the wrong person to write that. I dislike twitter because it seems to be best suited to disorders like exhibitionism, caffeine addiction, Turretts and ADD. And there is no end of pointless noise. I've watched one person commit professional suicide on Twitter, chronicling his sad spiral into depression and self loathing broadcast to literally hundreds of professional contacts, including people at his current (and presumably future) jobs. It's disturbing to watch. You want to stop it, but you can't.

Anyway, I'm more of a "long form" guy, so blogs and forums are more my bag. Places where you can really have a discussion. Blogs and forums are more real to me because you have a wider range of media than just straight text, you can express a wider range of ideas.

Because these services are artificially loaded with sales and marketing types, they seem to have an eternal smiley face pasted on. I don't get that. Nothing is that one-sided. Expressing the negative is the only way to start understanding it. I don't get the aversion to expressing something negative. You can express a negative idea and still be constructive.

Facebook I leave for personal stuff, and I use it grudgingly. I have to admit, I don't really "get" facebook.

I use LinkedIn for professional connections. It works well for that.

I wish Skype were more widely used. I love the IM capabilities, and if it gets too hard to type, just pick up the mic. Not to mention the video call capability and screen sharing. To me, Skype is what it all really should be.

I also liked Google Wave while it lasted. I didn't use it much, but it was nice when I did.
Mark, Nice set of articles. What is the important thing is that you cannot do social media as a job. You have to do it "between the jobs". This is a secret sauce, in my view. Best, Oleg
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It's interesting that the ball you've gotten rolling here has taken on a new direction. After talking about how to make social media practical, we're now starting to talk about just what exactly the different tools can be used for, especially for CAE.

I agree what you said about Twitter; it's a great way to share interesting things (URLs). I bookmark those and check them out later.

If those URLs turn out to be good or cool or interesting, they usually end up in my blog. I blog as a way of archiving things I like and as a forum for sharing those things with others. And, yes, the blog is also a way to entertain.

Maybe one reason I'm a fan of social media for engineering use is that it's allowed us to be more genuine, more friendly, more personal in our communication. I can't tell you how much I despise stilted, lifeless, and just plain dull engineering prose. If nothing else, Twitter and Facebook should be applauded for giving us some relief.

RSS is invaluable for following various blogs. Not too many years ago my morning coffee was enjoyed over email. Now I read my RSS feeds instead (and probably get more useful information).

Facebook is great for both business and personal interaction but it's even more informal or casual. I just don't get LinkedIn. To me it's like Facebook for business but with an interface that's stiff and ugly.

Like any other tool, social media can be used well or used poorly.

Let's keep the conversation going.
The CAE part would be a great discussion on its own because, you are right, there are a lot of different needs and different tools.Maybe NAFEMs and others should start looking at social media kind of like the CAD conferences are. I could sure use a few more FEA blogs to read :-)

Speaking of RSS feeds,did you know there are feeds for our keywords? So if you just want posts on NX or Solid Edge or FEA or "Social Media", you can do that too.
Gears Esteemed Contributor
Mark, how would one find the feed address for the keywords?


If you have IE, there is a feed menu drop down. You click the keyword in the blog, then select the drop down, then pick the feed you want.

More generally, the feeds look like the URL below so if you want it based off the "Solid Edge" tag, you would use the one below.

It would be good to have a button for this on the page - I'll mention that to our technical expert. We are still doing some platform tweaks.

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Nice set of articles. Great ideas and tips for those who don't understand social media, and even for some of us who are using it!

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Like the articles Mark!