There’s a lot of buzz about social media tools today, especially since Facebook recently filed to go public, but do maintenance engineers, planners and technicians currently use social media tools to help them perform their jobs? Will social media become more embedded in the daily operations of maintenance professionals, or will it always be something people use only in their spare time for news, networking and educational purposes?
I was curious to find out what others are saying on this topic, so I searched online to see what’s been published. The search yielded few results. One of the articles was titled “People Power,” recently published in Air Transport World. But it was mostly about how airlines are using Facebook on the operations side, to support customer relations and drive ticket sales. It seems that most commercial airlines or transit agencies use Facebook only as a sales or ridership promotional tool.
If you are a maintenance planner, engineer or technician, which social media outlets do you turn to for news, tips and discussions that help you accomplish your professional objectives? Below is a brief summary of three major platforms—LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook—and my observations about their value to maintenance professionals in the aviation and transit industries.
In the past couple of years LinkedIn has become an important network for plenty of maintenance, planning and engineering professionals. Look around for a LinkedIn group in various industries, and you’re sure to find one that’s relevant, with educational discussion threads that are pertinent to your profession. LinkedIn is not a tool that one uses to actually perform one’s job (unless your job is to research best practices in your industry), but it’s becoming a go-to source for industry knowledge and networking.
Twitter serves as a source of micro-blogs; it’s a handy way of hearing the latest buzz from industry experts, vendors and colleagues. Compared to LinkedIn, however, it is more difficult to 1) find the most relevant Twitterers for your industry and 2) scroll through all the Tweets to find ones that are relevant to your job.
As of this writing Facebook offers some pages and posts that are pertinent to the maintenance profession, but it can be hard to locate them. (This may be a function of Facebook’s search engine, and/or the lack of pages and posts.) A brief search on Facebook for “aircraft maintenance” yielded a substantial number of results; most were for MRO shops, aircraft maintenance schools, and interest groups. Many, if not the majority, of aviation-oriented Facebook pages exist to promote products or services rather than sharing useful information. That could be changing, however; some pages contained numerous posts/updates that were indeed educational; for example, look up “Aircraft Maintenance General Knowledge.”
Are these trends likely to change? Are there other social media platforms that are gaining traction in the maintenance profession? Please post your thoughts/comments on this topic. And, of course, feel free to follow Enigma on Twitter and LinkedIn.