Social media for engineers: good or garbage? - Embedded.com

Social media for engineers: good or garbage?

Two weeks ago, I attended an EDAC panel session on Social Media for emerging companies to learn from the big guys.  On the panel were representatives from Altera, Cadence, Synopsys and EE Times, and out of all of them, I most enjoyed the EE Times speaker since he presented actual data (see Figure 1) in true engineering fashion. The insightful take-away… Engineers hate Twitter!

Well, I am not sure my opinion can persuade you to ignore these numbers, but as far as social media goes, I hope you agree that just like the internet, social media isn’t a passing fad. Naturally, it will evolve and change over time, but it isn’t going away. And with that, I’m proud to personally and professionally embrace social media and take a leading position using these various channels to reach fellow engineers.

Figure 2, complements of Altera, shows the many channels available to firms wanting to embrace social media. For a high-tech industry that’s innovative in design and development, we sure tend to shy away from the cutting edge in social media. I’m not exactly sure why. Engineers are precise and cautious while social media is perhaps too loose, fast and fickle? 

You tell me.  In addition to the usual Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and my shameless plug for blogging;-), etc. offerings that most firms have explored, AWR is also one to venture into a few other less frequently explored domains…

Witness the iPhone. “There must be an app for that.” Voila. The Transmission Line (TX-Line) Calculator. Thanks to AWR’s intern, Alex Collins, for tackling this first offering for us. Why don’t you take a look; download and use the app; and give us feedback on ways to improve it or suggest other apps to tackle? Get it here.
 
Or how about a Microwave Calculator? Agilent offers us a Microwave (µWave) calculator to find errors in measurements. Find that app here.
 
Software as a service or a so-called “online design center”?  Transim Technology, recently acquired by Arrow, is providing viable portals to designers for the evaluation of products/parts in the context of typical applications long before they have to actually speak to another human being by phone or through an email exchange.  More than simply an “interactive data sheet,” the site allows users to place a device from a sponsoring manufacturer into a specific circuit using the manufacturer’s device parameters (or varying them) and run a simulation.  Sound enticing?  Give it a try.  Here you can “play” in a controlled way with designs in the RF/microwave space such as WCDMA amplifiers.  

What will be next in social media for the engineering mindset? I don’t know, but like your typical engineer looking for next generation’s technology, I’m excited to see what it could be. And isn’t curiosity just one of the many traits that we engineers have in common?  Well, aside from our dislike of Twitter. LOL.

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