When it comes down to social media, every business is different. So it is for laboratories. Laboratories are known to be very innovative in their key business activities (analysing, research), but extremely reluctant in adapting new innovative communications strategies, like engaging in social media. A survey (carried out by the Dutch Royal Chemical Society) confirms this. To give an example: over 82 % do not use Twitter (funny thing is when asked how managers think lab technicians use social media the popularity rank is exactly reversed).
Peggy McKee experienced recruiter for laboratories (http://is.gd/gTv5r): “It’s seen as an additional burden and something that you’re living quite well without. From there it’s easy to pile on the negatives: It eats up too much time. It’s a waste of energy. It’s intimidating. It’s for the younger generation. Social media fosters shallow relationships.” McKee isn’t buying any of it. “You can always come up with something negative about Facebook or YouTube or even LinkedIn,” then use those as grounds for rejection, she says.
However, there is a change of tide. Only 2 % of the managers say they do not use Linkedin. So the majority does. That’s the good news. The more business oriented Linkedin is obviously more within the comfort zone of lab managers. At the same time it can be a good starting point to explore other social media. And not only for searching for job candidates (see january issue of Lab Managers Magazine, http://www.labmanager.com).
Among interesting applications: branding the laboratory, exchanging knowledge (e.g. about analytical techniques), messaging (using a safe business application like Yammer).
Mindmap Hans Buskes, survey Nadya Doudnik
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24 november, Delft, TNO