Brian Fuller's blog on the media, marketing and content creation

Time well spent?

Posted on | June 17, 2010 | 3 Comments

One in every 4.5 minutes spent online is spent in a social network or in a blog, according to a study released yesterday by Nielsen. That’s engagement. It’s too bad that’s not translating into the engineering B:B space. Semiconductor and EDA companies have invested millions in the past 5-10 years not only revamping their Web sites but adding social functionality in more recent times.

At this point, the social functionality is a build-it-and-they-will-come rationale, because they aren’t coming at the moment. ├é┬áCoincident with the release of the Nielsen study was a fine marketing webinar hosted by the folks at EE Times Group. A key takeaway: 85 % of engineers aren’t on Twitter. EE Times acknowledged it isn’t a scientific study, but it was a flash survey of 285 engineers done just last month. Roughly half of those who responded used words like hate or dislike to describe Twitter. Wrong Way Desert copy

At DAC and Synopsys’ Conversation Central interview series this week, Twitter and blogging was acclaimed by some (it’s big in EDA) but derided by just as many others as self-promotional hot-air balloons run by consultants and companies with an ax to grind.

Longer term, you could make the case that eB:B marketers are building those high speed rail lines in anticipation of their trailing-adopter audience jumping on the train eventually (remember the 1990s and the first Web sites?) EE Times shared other data that showed vendor Web sites are now the places engineers go to most often to research, in this case, embedded design decisions. Not too many years ago, vendor Web sites were a distant third behind industry publications and colleagues.

In that particular slide, 83% of the respondents said they consulted those vendor Web sites. Bouncing along way down the tail were blogs (18%) and social networks (11%). But a closer look reveals blogs jumped four full percentage points between 2009 and 2010 and social networks doubled in popularity. A fraction of the engineer’s interest to be sure, but growing fast.

Time will tell for sure where engineers consider their time well spent. When I Tweeted the EET engineer/Twitter dynamic earlier this week, an engineering colleague Tweeted back that engineers simply may not be big communicators, regardless of the medium.

And that’s a definitely a factor to be reckoned with in the months and years ahead.

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3 Responses to “Time well spent?”

  1. Rob De
    June 18th, 2010 @ 8:05 am

    Hey there Greeley,

    One item to consider is that “Social Media” sites are not only Facebook or Twitter. Engineers have been using Yahoo Groups, Bulletin Boards, and help forums long before the term “Social Media” was invented.

    So I think EE’s do socialize online you just need to make sure you use the pragmatic terms. Don’t ask “do you use Twitter, Facebook”, instead ask “do you use forums”. You may get a different answer.

    Having been an engineer before I became managmemt, I think I can say that engineers don’t want to be “social” they want to get their job done.

  2. Debra Seifert
    June 21st, 2010 @ 12:02 pm

    My son Andrew is now a graphics software engineer at Intel working on the next generation of graphics processors. He was home for 4 months after finishing his master’s, and before he moved to Folsom. I watched his habits pretty closely. He likes podcasts a lot, listens for hours a week, but the speaker must be a technical guru (no fluff) & it’s OK to be funny (technical inside jokes). He doesn’t use Facebook (security reasons) or Twitter (waste of time). Intel colleagues are starting to request Linked-In connections, so his use is growing slowly. But, really, he chooses obscure software guru media sources that none of us have ever heard of. Marketing ploys are shunned. My focus group of one for 4 months reveals: Pretty much confirms your findings.

  3. Mark Lovett
    July 7th, 2010 @ 4:58 am

    As engineers typically seek information, it would seem logical for blogs to lead the way with regard to adoption of modern social media, as there is opportunity to both report on news and offer educated opinion. Twitter is great for conversation, but as mentioned in the previous comment, engineers would rather be productive that chit-chat.

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