Orange County Branch Newsletter

June 2012

Secretary's Column

What Social Media Should I Use?

By Gary Gilbert, PE, GE

Every year it seems there is a new social media site that the public is flocking to, and people can get confused by all the selection.  The Orange County Branch is now participating in multiple social media sites and each is being used to communicate in different ways.  I would like to share how the Orange County Branch is trying to improve our outreach to members, the public, and students.


Twitter is used by a growing number of news organizations as headlines with links to their articles in order to increase volume on their respective websites.  The Orange County Branch is borrowing this concept to share articles published in our monthly newsletter and to share articles we find that are relavent to our profession.  Some members don't have time to read through our entire newsletter, so we hope that if members are using Twitter they will follow us and read the articles that grab their interest.  In addition, Twitter is open to the public so our outreach can reach a larger audience than our members. Click here to go to our Twitter site.  ASCE Society has multiple Twitter accounts and has been very successful here is link to Society's site.  


Facebook is more focused to friends and families.  The site is more used for sharing photos or providing updates on events that occur in your life.  We have a presence in Facebook to allow members to share items of interest to their friends and families as part of outreach to educate the public on the Civil Engineering profession.  As an organization, our reach to the public is limited and the site tends to be less conducive to professional converstations.  The Facebook page does have some nice features with adding photos to the timeline, that we are experimenting with to see if they help the Orange County Branch outreach to members.  Click here to go to our Facebook site.  ASCE Society has a Facebook page too and here is link to Society's site


LinkedIn is what I call a dynamic business card.  If someone changes companies you can still reach them and often times LinkedIn notifies you of changes to a person's profile so you can get there latest information the next time that you see the person.  I use the site frequently to check that our database of contacts is correct at work and we don't call a company looking for a person who no longer works there.  Please note that those multiple notices asking you to add the person are not from the individual.  LinkedIn will keep notifying you of a person's desire to add you until you either ignore the notification or accept the request.  A growing part of LinkedIn is to connect job seekers with open positions.  The Orange County Branch uses the group feature to share information about our upcoming meetings and provides a forum for members to share job opportunities and have professional discussions.  If you only want to participate in one social media site, I would highly recommend that you select LinkedIn.  Click here to go to our LinkedIn site.  ASCE Society's site is here


Google+ is what I call the opposite of Facebook, the default for postings is public.  Similar to Twitter, you follow sites that interest you, but what I like is that you can easily separate into groups called Circles.  For example, I have one Circle for news and a different Circle with friends.  On this site I tend to interact more with people who I don't know, most of them don't even live in the country.  The site is popular with photographers, which gave me the idea to share images of infrastructure to hopefully educate the public about Civil Engineering.  Trying to make Civil Engineering look cool, with the aid of the professional photographers.  The professional photographers appreciate that we share their content, so that people will be drawn to their websites.  Click here to go to our Google+ page. ASCE Society does not have a Google+ page.


As most everyone knows, YouTube is a site to post videos.  The Orange County Branch has been using YouTube to post most of the luncheon presentations so our members can revisit items they may have missed during the meeting.  We also have linked the videos with a brief discussion to our monthly newsletters and our past presentations page on our website.  ASCE Society also has a YouTube account where they share videos on a variety of subjects related to Civil Engineering.  Here is a link to Orange County Branch's YouTube site.


Pinterest I have found to be more of a site to share interests with other people.  You share content using Pins, which are images typically from other websites.  You can have a board for different interests.  You can follow a person or just selected boards. It is very easy to select images from most websites to share.  I commonly come across images that I would like to see again, and use Pinterest to save them for future viewing.  ASCE Society has a nice Pintest site where they are sharing photos of infrastructure, similar to the Orange County Branch's Google+ page.

I am sure there are a few other sites that I haven't discussed, but the focus of my discussion was to educate our members on how ASCE is using social media to outeach to members and the public.  Everyone's interest is a little different and that is part of the reason why there are so many options available for social media.  Hopefully this article is informative and more of our members will interact with us through our various social media sites.    

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