Application for Social Media Technologies like Twitter for Automation Professionals?

by | Mar 18, 2008 | Event, Miscellaneous


My colleague Deb Franke and I have again submitted abstracts for the Emerson Global Users Exchange, which will be in Washington D.C. September 29 through October 3. Our topics are both on the use of social media technologies, with one being a hands-on session. Last year we did a Web 2.0 discussion, which we archived here.

Now, there is no guarantee that the presentations for this year will be accepted, since they are chosen by the Emerson Exchange Board of Directors, which is a mix of process manufacturers, Emerson, and Emerson local business partners. We’ll find out in April if none, one or both have been accepted.

One of social media applications I’ve started to use is Twitter. You basically have 140 characters to say whatever it is you want to say at the moment. Think of it as instant messaging, except that anyone in the world can follow your posts. My twitter page is

I was prompted to write about this when I saw Gary Mintchell ask the question on his blog today, Any manufacturing twitterers out there? I responded, and if you have a Twitter account, I hope you’ll respond, too so that we can begin to build a circle.

The Twitter application seems to be gaining momentum. Participants at the recent SXSW Interactive conference here in Austin used it extensively. People used it to say what they were doing or planning to do, to ask questions of their circle, to answer others questions, etc. With only 140 characters to work with, you have to be brief or use something like TinyURL to squeeze down the size of a long URL at which to point. You can post from your mobile phone and if it has mobile web capabilities, you can view posts from Mobile Twitter.

I bring all this up because I think there would be applicability for automation professionals. Not only might this be useful at trade shows and events like the Emerson Exchange for impromptu gatherings and updates, but also in your daily course of work.

For example, if you have responsibility for working with a particular automation system and you have an application question, you could post it and see if your circle knows the answer. Of course, this only works if the circle, or extended circle, grows sufficiently large. Unlike instant messaging, the circle expands beyond who is in your list, i.e. friends of friends. This expanded circle is one of the benefits of these social media-based applications.

Please let me know if you give it a try and establish an account so I can follow you. I’d like to see how this might be used in our industry, so I can share some of these findings in the possible Emerson Exchange presentations, as well as future blog posts.

Update: This was too good not to share. Thanks to local Austin author and Entrepreneur Guide, Scott Allen for pointing out this great Lee LeFever YouTube video explanation of Twitter (with apologies to those with repressive IT departments):

I of course found out about this video from a Twitter tweet from Scott.

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