Finding Answers Faster, Connecting with Others

I came upon these statistics on the growth of social media applications, often dubbed Web 2.0:

Propelled by the growth of Facebook Inc. and LinkedIn Corp., social networks are now more popular than e-mailing on the Internet, according to a Nielsen study.

I mention this because Emerson’s Deb Franke and I were honored to be asked by Control Engineering Asia group editor, Bob Gill, to write on the topic of Web 2.0. We believe these people-connecting applications can help you and other process-manufacturing professionals better connect, engage, and advance. The article, The World of Web 2.0, shares our thoughts that today, more than ever, you should consider the use these applications for:

…finding answers faster, easily connecting with other experts outside your current sphere, discovering new things you didn’t even know to look for, and having collective wisdom shape and improve initial ideas.

In this article, we shared many of the key thoughts from our presentation at last year’s Emerson Exchange. The social media applications we highlight include LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Google Reader, and Google specialized news and blogs searches. I’ll touch on a few thoughts we shared.

LinkedIn helps you grow and foster a network of professional and personal relationships. We wrote:

The value of building a LinkedIn network comes in several ways. The part we find most beneficial is the question and answer portion. When you ask questions, the question goes to everyone in your immediate network and is available for anyone in LinkedIn to answer. This circle of expertise extends far beyond whom you personally know. Also, as you answer questions, you begin to connect with others with similar expertise.

Twitter is a service where you can share what’s on your mind with the world in a 140 characters or less. The power is in its simplicity. We wrote:

People find value from Twitter in many ways. The most common use is to ask questions to those who follow you when you need quick answers or advice. For example, a “has anyone seen this?” technical question is a fast way to begin troubleshooting. Business travelers can ask for recommended restaurants and advice in unfamiliar cities. You will find the value of Twitter grows as your network of followers expands and you learn more about them.

Flickr and YouTube for images and videos are both services I use with this blog to help convey ideas better than words alone can do. We also use it to share pictures of the DeltaV character, Duncan and for DeltaV videos and case studies.

The Google Reader provides a single spot to view anything you wish to subscribe and have flow to you, instead of having to seek and find. I’ve collected many process automation- and industry- related blogs and news feeds which you can import to your Google Reader or other RSS reader.

The specialized news and blog searches in Google provide great ways to find more current or good “how to” type information. They may get you to an answer faster than the overall search engines.

Deb and I conclude the article with this:

We believe innovation begins with curiosity and overcoming the comfort of the status quo. Give one or more of these Web 2.0 applications a try, and see what benefits you personally experience. Our hope is that you find new sources of innovation and success.

We hope you do!

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