Social Product Development

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Take 2: Engineers Want a Formula For Social Media

This is a cross-post authored by Derrek Cooper, CFdesign product manager for Blue Ridge Numerics. He is mechanical engineer with over 10 years experience working in the CFD/CAD/FEA market.

Derrek writes about social media and the prospect of its use by engineers for product development. If I were to split hairs, I would say that social media as we generally know it today, is not a good fit for product development (too risky), but social computing is (see my introductory blog on this topic). I agree with his point of view and really like the way he talks about it...though I assume he's using the term "guys" in a gender neutral way :-). The type of response he gets is not unfamiliar to me. That said, I find our customers bring this subject up more often than I do. Here's an excerpt...

'....I have had conversation with guys about Twitter and other tools out there. Response is mixed, either they feel they "don't get it" or feel it's "not for me". The reasons are all over the map-- don't care, no time, not interested. What I find interesting is that these same guys don't have any issues frequenting certain forums of interest. I'm not sure Twitter is much different, it all depends on how you use it.

I do appreciate the skepticism, but I'm not a fan of narrow mindedness. Just because its different, just because you aren't into it or understand it, doesn't mean it has no value. Simply put, social media, in my eyes is about communication, interaction, collaboration, knowledge gathering and knowledge sharing. Hmm, parallels engineering pretty closely from a top level? I'm the first to admit that there is a lot of fluff that all gets categorized as social media. But I think there is tremendous value being "plugged in, connected and informed"....'

Read Derrek's full post here.


  1. the not for me twitter is doubling users every four weeks. sounds like it works for someone, or there are a ton of lemmings out there...

  2. Chris, I can see why some people have a hard time jumping in to try Twitter and Facebook, among others. I held out for a long time, but started slowly, did a lot of listening, and now feel comfortable and find value in the interaction. It's catching on for social communities and I believe social computing will deliver even greater value for product development.

  3. I think there are a lot of people out there that are similar to Robin - biding their time and waiting. And she is still on the front end of the curve for using social computing for business (go Robin!). More widespread adoption will come when the use of social computing is more clearly integrated into peoples' jobs, into their workflows, and most importantly into their information. Think how much more interesting Facebook is because you can share personal data like pictures. The more integrted it becomes, the more people will stick their toes in the waters. Then, it's "all swim" because the adoption is viral.