The IET gets sociable

I recently read Yes, we can twitter while catching up on some E&T reading. Probably the most interesting bit for me was seeing @TheIET is also on twitter, so I tore off the bottom of the page with the link on to check out. Web 0.1 bookmarking then; I still like reading on paper.

The IET twitter account doesn’t look like it’s progressed beyond getting their brand on there; they don’t follow anyone, have a surprisingly small 168 followers and don’t seem to be talking to anyone. Still, hopefully it’s just a small beginning and, amongst the links to their web site, I did spot a press release about the launch of the new IET social networking site! That news somehow passed me by until now, so I’ve been investigating to see what it offers. To start with, I have yet another profile, which is not a big surprise. Earlier today I was scratching my head over a spiced up developerWorks profile. It has a bookmarking service which, for anyone in the IET new to such things is great. While I already use delicious for my own bookmarks, IET Discover combines bookmarks with groups, in what looks quite a similar way to Lotus Connections. There’s already a good selection of groups, although I’ve not found any that appear that active yet. Groups have always been a bit of a mystery to me in things like Facebook, never quite fulfilling their apparent potential, mostly ending up little more than a way to tag yourself as being interested in something.

Talking of tagging, from what I can tell on first look, I can tag my own profile, but other people can’t tag me, which seems like a missed opportunity. I think there’s much more value in tagging other people. In networks where you can tag yourself, I tend to have a poor attempt to start with, and then never return to keep the tags up-to-date.

And finally, I can watch people… except so far I’ve not found anyone to watch. I’m guessing it’s much like adding people to your delicious network.

Overall, it’s an interesting foray into the world of social networking. Like LinkedIn, it has a more professional focus, but it feels more limited by association with a single professional body. With recent homecamp, arduino and related projects in mind, I joined the electronic circuits group, but there are already more established social networks around those topics, whether IET members or not. Having said that, I think there is a place for more focused social networks. For example, I’m a big fan of developerWorks, where I’ve been trying to get some momentum for a community around the MDM Workbench, which is after all a pretty niche topic. So IET Discover looks interesting, and it has the potential to get me more involved in the IET. Time will tell how it turns out… maybe @TheIET will share their view…

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