All in Associations

Social Media and Enhancing the Engineering Profession's Image

In my blog post Can Social Media Help Change the Public’s Perception of the Engineering Profession? I commented on the National Academy of Engineering’s report Changing the Conversation: Messages for Improving Public Understanding of Engineering. In my original post I lauded the NAE report but suggested that any implementation program designed to change the public’s perception of the engineering profession should incorporate social media and social networking elements. In this post I discuss some of these elements.

Associations -- and Social Media -- Are Only Human

Ben Martin’s provocatively titled blog post As long as people don’t really care associations will survive addresses the common (these days) idea that social media and social networking somehow “compete” with the traditional idea of a professional association. After all, if anyone can throw together an online group of like-minded individuals at the drop of a hat, won’t professional associations inevitably lose members to such grassroots movements?
I received an email commenting on Social Networking and Elsevier’s “Grand Challenge” for Knowledge Enhancement in the Life Sciences. I had suggested that networked access to published health science authors would be useful in emergency situations where there is the need for rapid access to high quality health information from many different sources.
This deal between Elsevier and Google may be further evidence of how disruptive the web has become to traditional publishing, research institutions, and professional membership associations. Web access and the proliferation of systems offering collaboration opportunities via social media and social networking are forcing management to make tough decisions about how much to give away for free and how much to restrict to paying customers.
An Associated Press story on Yahoo! News titled AMA wants doctors to swap idea online describes how the AMA has started an ad-free, subscriber based network for use by physicans in conjunction with Sermo, Inc. The network is used for sharing questions, answers, and medical opinions.