What comes to mind when you hear the phrase social media? Probably most of us think Facebook, Twitter, instant messaging and other means of conveying news and opinions. We older folks, used to putting in long hours in the field or construction trailer, tend to write off social media, particularly in this form, as needless distraction from the important work at hand. However, if one thinks of social media in terms of websites such as blogs, online forums, YouTube and LinkedIn, it is possible to find sources of valuable information.
According to Wikipedia, “Social media are computer-mediated tools that allow people to create, share or exchange information, ideas, and pictures/videos in virtual communities and networks.” The emphasis is on “user-generated” content. So the key here is finding those social media sites, and perhaps more specifically, those writers or site curators, who are likely to provide information that is specific to your interests or day-to-day work activities.
Online forums provide a format for asking questions and following a specific topic over time. Forums are typically found on trade association websites. Vendors of products may have offer forums where users can post comments and questions, and sometimes users band together to create forums about a specific vendor product but want to be independent of the vendor’s control and influence.
LinkedIn, which is primarily a networking site where members can post their profiles, work experience and interests, allows members to create topic-specific interest groups. These interest groups then allow members to post forum-like questions and discussions. Examples of construction-related LinkedIn groups include construction law, construction management and project controls as well as those set up for specific software applications, such as CPM scheduling programs.
YouTube can be a great educational tool. When I need to find out how to do something, or what a particular construction operation might look like, it is rare that I do not find a video tutorial that someone has posted.
Blogs are perhaps one of the oldest, and most widespread, of social media tools. Originally popularized as a way for individuals to create online diaries, they morphed into information sites with the individual creators calling themselves journalists. Today they have greatly expanded and some of them have become quite good. Blogs are also commonly set up by vendors and consultants as a means to self-promote their services. This does not mean they cannot provide useful information to non-users. We have found these sites can vary from those that strictly focus on their products or services to those that strive to provide independent editorial material about their industry. Another source of blogs are those run by industry media sites, such as ENR and Building Design & Construction.
Included below is a list of a few blogs that we have followed here at ConstructionPro Network as well as several that our research shows to be popular in the construction industry. Many blogs allow you to sign up for email updates to be notified of new posts. One suggestion we have is to “google” construction law blogs for the states where you perform work, since those are most likely to post news on recent lower court decisions that can affect your projects. Your feedback is welcome. Feel free to tell us what your favorite blogs are and why.
Construction Law Blogs:
www.bestpracticesconstructionlaw.com/ - Construction law in general and Tennessee specifically.
www.greenbuildinglawupdate.com - Green building law
federalconstruction.phslegal.com - Federal construction specific.
General Construction Blogs:
Architecture and Interior Design
UK and International