HVAC Professionals Filtering Through Social Media
Engineers have inquisitive minds and like to know how things work. They are often the first to try something new, sometimes out of curiosity, but also from a desire to discover better methods and smarter techniques. Things like better designs for products and buildings, such as those directed by LEED standards, sustainability, and life cycle costs. They also discover better ways to communicate with each other and with others in their field.
So as a group, how has the engineering profession -- and especially those in the building and HVAC sectors -- accepted and adopted social media communication tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook? So far the results seem mixed. HVACRBusiness Magazine conducted a poll of its readers late last Summer, in which 26% said they already had company Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts, but 48% said they WOULD use social media if they only knew how. It's one reason why HVACR Business created a special social media site just for HVACR contractors at SocialTract.com where contractors can create and maintain their own blogs with minimal effort. Some individual contractors and engineering firms have braved the new social media world on their own, such as California-based Rosenthal Plumbing, whose music video on YouTube has been viewed more than 5700 times. Blogs, videos, and other methods can also be used to answer questions about preventing heat exchanger fouling and cooling tower basin cleaning.
Industry associations and media like ASHRAE and Contracting Business have embraced social media as well. ASHRAE has corporate Facebook and Twitter accounts and also maintains a special MySpace account just for students. Social media can be a great way to look for job, such as using a Twitter account that lists jobs just for HVAC.
LinkedIn And Professional Groups
One of the best uses of social media is for networking and strengthening existing relationships. LinkedIn maintains a number of groups relating specifically to HVAC, engineering, and filtration that are a great resource for sharing information. That list includes:
- Consulting-Specifying Engineer (153 members). For engineers and others who have a professional interest in buildings. Topics of interest include sustainability, innovative design solutions, awesome new products, career development, industry events, and more.
- Filtration Networking (1300 members) For those interested in networking throughout the industry to share market/product knowledge, industry contacts, job search, and general information.
- CleanTechies Around The World (10,000 members) Joining requires approval in this group for active professionals, committed students, concerned citizens, interested politicians, and devoted educators. Consists of engineers, lawyers, financiers, technicians, consultants, architects, designers, communicators, students and teachers who are pursuing careers in CleanTech.
- Water Treatment Solutions (2454 members) This group is for water treatment professionals to exchange knowledge and ideas about water problems. Subjects to be discussed are related to treatment of wastewater, cooling water, and boiler water and other.
- MyWaterPlantJobs Group (218 members) A group for those who manage, operate and maintain water and wastewater treatment plant facilities worldwide.
- Wastewater Construction Group (502 members) Their goal is to communicate in all disciplines relating to water, wastewater and reclamation facilities, including design and construction.
It's Your Turn
What about YOU?
Have you jumped into the social media pool yet? You can start out slow and easy by:
- Join LinkedIn and check out some of the many forums and groups there, including the LAKOS LinkedIn account