As some readers will know, I spent much of the past ten years working in the ‘extranet’ or ‘construction collaboration technologies’ market, and I maintain a continued interest in that sector (including a blog about it). Occasionally, that interest also crosses over into PR, marketing and social media – as it did when I looked at Asite‘s recently launched Web 2.0-enabled platform (see post here and on ExtranetEvolution.com), and, today, a Google Alert has just sparked another snapshot exploration.
The Alert took me to a Facebook page created for Aconex, an Australia-based provider of construction collaboration technologies. I created a similar page for my former employer BIW Technologies some months ago (plus one on LinkedIn and a BIW Twitter feed), so this set me searching for similar pages relating to the main construction collaboration vendors – of which there are about ten currently active in the UK.
About as social as the rest of AEC
Given that their core business is focused on improving information sharing and collaboration among users, you would have thought that these supposedly technology-savvy companies would have been in the forefront of Web 2.0 adoption. But I think their marketing instincts are, in the main, reflective of customers and end-users’ attitudes and behaviours in the somewhat conservative architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) market. ‘Safe’, business-focused networks like LinkedIn are popular, as is the current media darling, Twitter, but take-up of other tools is more patchy.
Searches on the business-oriented networking site LinkedIn were most successful, yielding company pages for 4Projects, Aconex, Asite, BIW, Business Collaborator, Causeway, and ePin in the UK, the France-based Sword group, plus US based e-builder and Kalexo among others.
I found official Twitter feeds from Aconex (updates protected), Asite, BIW, ePin, Sarcophagus and Union Square; most were established relatively recently and have few updates or followers – currently the most prolific and most followed Tweeter is the longest-established: BIW. But recent market entrant Woobius is an active Twitter user, as are around half a dozen regularly tweeting ‘Woobians’. (To see if this changes over time, I am minded to create a construction collaboration Twitter league, echoing the Architects Twitter league set up by Su Butcher, and Martin Brown’s recently launched FM Twitter league – Update (29 July 2009) – the AECcollaborators Twitter League is now live).
On YouTube, I identified seven Asite (solutions) videos, three Aconex-related videos, and one by BIW. Again, Woobius is quickly establishing a presence, with three YouTube videos posted in the past fortnight alone.
The official UK collaboration bloggers include Asite, Aconex and Woobius (I was, I suppose, an unofficial BIW blogger until earlier this year).
However, in Facebook, there is a scant presence. Apart from the Aconex and BIW corporate pages (the fans of both seem to be mainly comprised of staff), I discovered only Asite Past and Present, an unofficial alumni group for existing and former employees (featuring a distinctly non-corporate and politically-incorrect discussion of Who knobbed the most people at work? – a stark warning of the risks that can arise from uncontrolled staff use of social media).
(Of course, if I’ve missed any LinkedIn profiles, Twitter IDs, YouTube vids or Facebook pages among the leading collaboration vendors, please let me know).