I'm a fan of the funny pages. This is my morning routine: wake up, drink coffee and read the newspaper (yes, the actual paper – the one that leaves ink on your fingers). I save the comics for last like dessert. A comic strip this morning made me laugh, then made me think of Chemical Processing's audience. The first panel read "Birth of Social Media." The second panel showed four cavemen sitting in the woods. One caveman hits another over the head with a club and says, "I call it Instant Messaging."
The speed at which things change on the social-media front is exponential. For example, in November 2009 I invited readers to become fans of Chemical Processing on Facebook and noted there were 300 million people already on that social network. As of October 2012, it has over 1 billion active users (also, being a "fan" is über passé.) And back in 2009 Chemical Processing was only participating in a few social media platforms — mainly Facebook and Twitter. Today readers can interact with us in a couple of new platforms, including:
Google+ – In the world of social media, the internet and all things techie, Google is a powerhouse. And if it had a voice, it would probably proclaim itself bigger than Jesus just like John Lennon did in the 1960s. To be sure we are in Google's good graces when it decides to take over the world, Chemical Processing created a Google+ page to house articles, columns and blogs. If you're on Google+, won't you +1 us? FYI: +1 is equivalent to a thumbs-up "like" on Facebook. But because it's Google, the +1 has a greater reach. When you click +1 you're publicly recommending pages across the web. We sure would appreciate that kind of endorsement from our readers.
Pinterest – This "newcomer" to the social media arena touts itself as a virtual pinboard. Subscribers can create and organize folders based on their needs. Initially, I wasn't sure about its relevance with readers. It seems more geared toward planning parties, decorating homes and sharing recipes. But without testing, I will never know for sure. So I created a Pinterest account for Chemical Processing. The folders: Engineering Fodder (I use this for witty quips aimed at engineers), E-Handbooks and Reports (just what it says, access to our special reports), Products (another straightforward folder) and Comical Processing Cartoons. If you're on Pinterest, won't you repin our content? And you never know, we may pin you back!
LinkedIn – Our Chemical Processing Network has over 2,500 members from all corners of the chemical-engineering universe. It's a great place to go to ask a question, look for a job and see what's on the minds of your peers. LinkedIn is often described as the career-minded social media network. You're not going to find cute pictures of puppies or snappy sayings. And it certainly isn't a place for over-sharing about your day, night or in between.
In addition to these newcomers to our social media offerings, you can still hang out with us on Facebook where you'll find the occasional funny picture or video along with the latest content from the magazine. We also have a YouTube page that features videos from tradeshows. I am the roving reporter in these videos, so sometimes the quality is lackluster. But the information is usually spot on. And if you're into short, to-the-point information, you can always follow us on Twitter.
I'm sure another social media network will pop up soon after this column has been published. If I deem it worthy of my attention – and yours – I'll let you know about it. For now, be wary of IMs from cavemen.
Traci Purdum is Chemical Processing's senior digital editor and social media maven. You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the social media front, be sure to check out her Google+ page.