I'll be the first to admit I have not fully grasped the whole concept of social networking. Certainly, my teenage nieces would agree with that statement. Their cruel laughter at my suggestion to post some vacation images on Facebook is still ringing in my ears.
Nonetheless, for some time now I've been intrigued by the notion of creating a LinkedIn group for design engineers to connect with their professional community. But up until now, I've been leery of the idea. That's because many of the groups I've joined haven't really met my expectations (fabulous job offers, powerful connections, etc.).
I can't promise you fame or fortune on LinkedIn. But I think I have come up with a purpose for a LinkedIn group for design engineers that goes beyond exaggerated qualifications and cookie-cutter recommendations or relentless promotion.
This new LinkedIn Group is called the Sherlock Ohms Investigators Club and it's open to any professional design engineer who is involved in the design, testing, and troubleshooting of products and systems who wants to connect and share information on engineering's most diabolical, real-world cases. Here's the skinny on it:
Design News' year-old Sherlock Ohms blog already has an active and engaged following, primarily because the content is written by professional design engineers. The cases illustrate the incredible ingenuity an engineer has applied to solve a particular challenge, whether it's a computer that keeps rebooting or one that won't boot at all.
The blog generates lots of reader response and the comments typically rise above the kind of snarkiness the Web can promote. Readers typically add value and context to the topic at hand. I'm not really surprised, as I know many of the active commenters personally, and they are among the most knowledgeable engineers on the planet. When they weigh in, they know what they're talking about. Like EMI Guru Daryl Gerke. He's been consulting on EMI issues for the past decade and his expertise goes way beyond shielded cables.
But in the past few months it became clear to me that the blog tool limits the ability for Sherlock fans to interact. Often, the last commenter really does have the final say — and in a case like the reader who offered up old PDP boards to anyone who might be interested, our Sherlock fans are missing out on some great stuff. Unfortunately, the way the blog works, readers are not able to do things like connect directly with the entire community (to offer PDP boards for example), or connect one-on-one with other readers, or start a discussion if they want to.
By joining our Sherlock Ohms group on LinkedIn, which is designed to facilitate interaction, you can do all these things — and more, including:
Get unique content not appearing anywhere else — like the recent discussion members had on whether the U.S. is losing its technological lead. Consensus: yes.
Pit your investigative abilities against your peers in a series of original cases where we provide the clues and you come up with the solution.
Connect and reminisce with other engineers who owned an HP-35 calculator or used an original Strobotac.
Get expert insights from our Master Sleuths, including Forensic Metallurgist Ken Russell and EMI Expert Daryl Gerke.
Simply hang out and see what your peers around the world are thinking.
I'll regularly be posting new Sherlock Ohms cases and commentary, along with unique content and suggesting topics for discussion. And as a member of the group, you can do the same — see the instructions on how to join in the box at left.
I hope you'll take me up on this invitation and join in the fun. Happy sleuthing.
— Karen Field (aka Miss Marple)