Discussion Thread

  • 1.  What do you think of social media?

    Posted 06-02-2021 02:10 PM
    What do you think about social media and it's impact on helping you maintain a professional image?

    You can give an example using your experience.

    Thank you hoping everyone is okay.

    Llala Chrishaye Ocampo S.M.ASCE
    City of General Trias Cavite

  • 2.  RE: What do you think of social media?

    Posted 06-02-2021 02:19 PM
    This is a great question and I hope will spark some good discussion and insight. I think social media has many virtues - an example for me is staying in touch with far flung friends and acquaintances - but like anything, needs to be used carefully and intentionally. To this latter point, social media creates a public and discoverable record and one has be to mindful about what they out there and how others would view and how they would be viewed by others. The advice that I try to follow and pass along to others is think about how your post would read if it was printed in the front page of a major newspaper. In this regard, you should not put anything out there that you would find embarrassing, would be hurtful to others, or could harm your reputation. Anything you put on social media represents you, your brand, and your reputation as you never know who could be reading, e.g., future employers. First impressions (sadly) count. Therefore, be mindful of the clarity, word choice, spelling and grammar of your writing and be mindful of how others will read.

    Mitch Winkler P.E., M.ASCE
    Houston, TX

  • 3.  RE: What do you think of social media?

    Posted 06-02-2021 02:20 PM
    There seems to be a number of nuances to this topic. At the risk of using this social media account to post opinions that will be judged by others, I am going to bring up a few topics that I feel are usually only discussed from one side, and not the other.

    I'd agree with Mitch that social media is a tool which can be used or misused. And while it is often discussed that the user of social media should beware judgment of those other professionals who look them up, I would like to submit the suggestion that it is also up to the person doing the judging to make sure they aren't taking content on a person's page out of context. Two examples I can think of are as follows:
    1. I once recall an older adult with a limited understanding of social media calling my parents in distress because they saw a post on my sister's social media account advertising an alcoholic event before she was old enough to drink. This adult immediately developed mistrust of my sister (and of my parents' apparent lack of supervision over my sister). Upon taking a second look, it was immediately obvious that a robo-account had simply spammed my sister's page with ads for an event, and that she had simply not yet noticed and gotten around to deleting the spam.
    2. Judging people who follow satire accounts and accounts that post absolutely senseless humor or popular memes that might not be understood by a wide audience outside of a particular generation. Typically, I think people tend to think about judging someone for a profile picture of them drinking, or doing something deemed "unprofessional". But the very fabric of social media is changing all the time, and nowadays it is possible for someone else to see not only what you post, but what you follow, react to, or even are tagged in by someone else. Again, if the person doing the judging doesn't understand how a particular social media account works and the significance or insignificance of seeing someone's name next to a piece of content, it is going to limit their ability to make an accurate assessment about that individual.

    Personally, I don't feel that the solution is simply to remove social media from your life out of fear that a job will judge you for having it. For many people, social media is how they have tracked the last decade or more of their lives, and keep in touch with those who have crossed paths with them somewhere in the world. Telling someone to give that all up to make sure they aren't viewed negatively by a third party suggests to me an overweighted emphasis placed on the working part of our lives.

    Finally, the topic of co-workers adding you on any form of social media not associated with one's professional life. I would make the claim that if one person is using their personal account to connect with another co-worker on their personal account, both of those individuals need to accept that they will learn more personal details about their co-workers. If you don't want to risk the chance that you will potentially see pictures of your co-workers out with friends, or sharing an opinion on politics or something else which you have a contradicting opinion about, then why are you connecting with them over a personal account to begin with?

    In summary, I believe that both the user and the viewer of a social media account needs to take care in how they both use, and review, a particular account.

    Christopher Seigel P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer

  • 4.  RE: What do you think of social media?

    Posted 06-02-2021 02:23 PM

    Dear Llala, I agreed with Mitchell and Christopher.

    I use social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, ResearchGate, Instagram; try to be constant in how do you identify your accounts @ingandresguzman) to divulge news and views related to the civil engineering practice. It includes events, scholarships, good and bad practices (experiences to learn) and some pictures. Publications help me maintain a network of friends and colleagues, and it also helps establish a path or preferences for research. But be aware, social media also tends others to think that you are losing your time; so, be wise using them.


    Andres Guzman Ing., M.ASCE
    Associate Professor

  • 5.  RE: What do you think of social media?

    Posted 06-07-2021 09:59 AM
    I think this is a great topic and something that younger individuals should be wary about.
    I think mitch said it quite well that "Anything you put on social media represents you, your brand, and your reputation as you never know who could be reading..."

    I make YouTube videos about my experience within civil engineering. Before posting my first videos I this internal debate whether leaving a "paper trail" of my experience was a good idea. Ultimately I decided that the benefits justify the risk.

    Regardless, I am extremely careful with what I put out as I don't want the information, tips, or advice to be misleading. I always keep in mind that a future employer or employee (who knows!) can find this. 

    That being said I think that putting oneself out in the social media world (LinkedIn, YouTube...) is a risk that's part of growing as a person.

    Daniel Bressler EIT, A.M.ASCE
    Structural Engineer
    Brooklyn NY

  • 6.  RE: What do you think of social media?

    Posted 06-10-2021 05:15 PM
    I think Andres, ​Daniel, and Mitchell have already covered many points that I would have also mentioned. 

    Similar to @Andres Guzman, I use social media under a consistent handle (Primarily Twitter and Instagram) as DaniTheEngineer to talk about civil engineering, engineering at broad, and other topics that I engineering students and early career professionals want to hear about. I also like how @Daniel Bressler mentioned 'benefits justify the risk' because what I am sharing on social media is hopefully helping the next generation of civil engineers! Social media has also given me a global reach that I would not have otherwise on sharing my advice and helping fellow folks in their engineering journey. 

    I would also like to mention, most companies have an established social media policy, so I definitely recommend reviewing that if your company has one before posting. 


    Danielle Schroeder EIT, A.M.ASCE (She/her)
    Associate Engineer
    Philadelphia PA

  • 7.  RE: What do you think of social media?

    Posted 06-02-2021 03:34 PM
    There have been a lot of good points brought up already. I will add some of my opinions based on my experiences.

    My use and outlook on social media is much different than most people. And its not because I don't like social media or don't think that it has benefits. I use as little of social media as possible, primarily for one reason: my employer.

    I work for a government agency, and have spent a majority of my career working in the public sector. Being a government employee means I have restrictions on what I can and cannot share on social media. I have to take specific and periodic training on the latest developments in regards to social media contributions. When I do contribute to social media, I need to be very careful that the content is clearly MY opinion, and not my EMPLOYER's opinion. 

    Sadly, I know former coworkers who posted material about their government jobs, coworkers and/or projects that lead to severe consequences for them. 

    Mitch's advice on "think about how your post would read if it was printed in the front page of a major newspaper" holds true for me and my situation. I must critically look at what I share to make sure it is accurate and appropriate.

    I have taken an extreme position, where I no longer use major social media platforms, partly because of the fear of mis-posting something and getting in trouble, and also from a personal time management standpoint. It was amazing how much time I "spent" on social media, even though I never posted, shared or contributed. I was just looking at friends recent contributions and getting sucked down the "I will watch one more funny video" rabbit hole. Next thing you know, half an hour is gone. I was spending hours just viewing other peoples digital lives. I have been social media free for over 3 years now, and I honestly can say I don't miss it. I keep in contact with my friends and family though text messages, FaceTime, and the rarely used app called Phone. This works for me, but it may not work for you.

    I know few people will have the same restrictions and outlook on social media as I do, but these are my opinions and experiences. 

    Please share your own, so we all can learn from each other.

    Doug Cantrell P.E., M.ASCE
    Professional Engineer
    Durham NC

  • 8.  RE: What do you think of social media?

    Posted 06-07-2021 08:42 PM
    Like others who have posted so far,  I consider this a newly significant and tightly nuanced topic. In terms of social media, I separate my accounts in my life by what my accounts are for and which ones mandate that I use my real name.

    • I have Facebook, Instagram, and e-portfolio accounts under my real name. Because these sites are full of posts and count as methods for contacting family, I seldom use them.
    • On LinkedIn, GroupMe and Quora, I give occasional comments and receive far more in notifications.
    • As of now, I have a total of six e-mails; one is purely a work e-mail; three others also use my real name; and two do not use my real name.
      • And through my e-mails, I make my remaining accounts.

    Alexander Granato A.M.ASCE
    Bexley OH