ChEnected Would Be Better if...

We'd like some feedback on how to make ChEnected better. ChEnected is only four months young. Our first authored post--Should you go Broad or Deep?-- was on February 26, 2010. Since then our goal has been to post every weekday in order to build a community of chemical engineers creating and engaging with interesting, relevant content.

As you may have seen, we're currently running a contest called Get ChEnected and Win an iPad. You should familiarize yourself with the details of the contest but essentially there are 3 Ways to Win--being the most prolific commenter/contributor to ChEnected, illustrating your definition of "ChEnected in the Real World", and finishing this sentence:

ChEnected Would be Better If..... Your Suggestion Here

You can post your sentence on our Facebook Page, on Twitter (include @ChEnected and #WiniPad) or by commenting right on this post. Of course, we'd love it if you commented here and then shared it to Facebook or Twitter too! We'll take all of your suggestions into consideration but they may not all be implemented. The best idea will be selected from among all submissions by a panel composed of ChEnected's advisory board. Try to be concise and clear when composing your suggestion.

A few suggestions that have come up so far include:

  • @ChEnected would be better.... if it had more quizzes #WiniPad
  • ChEnected would be better.... if it had a forum for free posting that worked in conjunction with the blog

Let us know what you think. And if you'd like to be considered for the contest, make sure you read the details and register to be eligible.


John! You took my idea! I would really like a Forum to talk about all sorts of issues: technical, career-oriented and some just for fun!

Robert S's picture

The reference or practical type posts, like the recent Excel one, are great. Are these going to be archived under a special area or tag? The value of these would be in looking them up later when you need the exact information or procedure, looking at the tag cloud there is not an easy one-click place to go. The search function works well, but as the site gets older it might become a little harder to filter through the results. It might be redundant but it would also show a new visitor that information of that type is available at a glance instead of them stumbling upon it.

Robert S's picture

So....I found the category on the sidebar. Sorry, that was what I was thinking of. Maybe a little more prominent.

Brian D's picture

I second the idea of a forum where there's a little more interaction among members as well as sharing of info professional or not.

RC Ramaswamy's picture

Some more thoughts: New Sections: We should have a forum page, as pointed out by many here This forum will be open to public and anyone can discuss any technical problems. Many of the forums on the web are successful and if we have one stop forum for chemical engineering, it will make Chenected a preffered site. There should be a separate section for local section. Any information on successful events conducted by local sections should be shared there. This will help the local sections. I remember that AIChE organized e-career fair once. I really liked that idea. May be along that line, we can request professional and professors to write about the type of work/research they do in their industries/universities and can relate how that is useful to business, world and to young engineers. This will help engineers to know about industries (to get hired, rehired) and about universities (if one decides to pursue higher studies) We also need more videos not only on chemical engineering but also on things general science, management etc. They not necessarily need to be serious and could be lighter too. (TED has many interesting videos)

RC Ramaswamy's picture

There are many ways to make chenected a better site and some of my thoughts: Marketing: Along the line of ipad contest, we shoudl conduct contests for local sections and student chapters. The student chapter / local section that sends more contributions to chenected wins an award and the prolific writer, if any, within the local section will win an ipad. This will create awareness among the local sections and will encourage the local sections to promote chenected and participate within their domain of influence. The chemical engineering progress (CEP) issue should have one page write up on 'Chenected Corner' every month. The best of chenected blogs, polls etc should be published in CEP and the readers of CEP should be advised to refer to Chenected for more info.

ehorahan's picture

I think a ChEnected corner in the CEP is a great idea! I also think they should keep a link to ChEnected on the AIChE homepage to help steer people here.

RC Ramaswamy's picture

Finally, my favorite: Chenected should be an app for iphone/ipad. The other app am interested is on technical article for this age. Chenected could publish periodically scientific articles (from peer reviewed journal and starting with review articles) containing all relevant information, written in a format easily understandable by BS engineers and higher management and not more than two pages. This executive summary version type journal articles will convey the essential things to folks who are not ready to spend more time but interested in knowing the new developments.

alessandra's picture

Clearly, the forum idea is a hit! I agree that a forum that isn't necessarily preceded by a longer blog post would be a great addition! Also, RC's idea that a separate section be added for local sections is spot on! The separate section could begin as simply as a map with embedded local section (LS) stats that appear as the cursor hovers over it. I think linking to local section websites would be a great idea too, and also displaying student chapters in each region would also be great. I also think local section leaders should be active in ChEnected, and that might involve creating user accounts for people such that if someone has a question or comment to submit to a local section, that person could submit the question directly to a ChEnected inbox/account that local sections could check. This would consolidate everyone's exposure to various sections across the country, and increase communication among people in different sections (and then they could continue the conversation in the forum! GENIUS.). Plus it would direct local section leaders to visit ChEnected more frequently, since they'd have to check their inboxes through the website. Maybe that also looks like instant messaging through ChEnected... nothing fancy or elaborate, but if users could log onto ChEnected accounts, other users could see who is online at the moment and perhaps introduce themselves and network if they could see some profile information (line of work, school, region, etc.) and get connected through ChEnected (it had to be done) real-time.

Kevin's picture

I would really like a way for Students to Get ChEnected. A student section could provide a way for all of the following to occur: Networking can be especially difficult for students who have little experience and few contacts. I would like to see a way for students to interact with students from other universities, compare experiences, and form professional bonds early. In addition, having a thorough internship/REU list on ChEnected, that encompasses just about every oppurtunity available for ChemE students would be immensely helpful, instead of having to wade through numerous job sites, REU postings, and seperate out non-internships that sneak their way in to the various lists that are available. Last but not least, how about a textbook exchange program, where students can sell/trade their textbooks when they are done with them, to avoid the high costs of buying new. Can you tell I'm a student?

LaurenG's picture

ChEnected would be better if... the videos were not You Tube links, but instead were downloaded videos that were accessed through the ChEnected website. Our company blocks You Tube (it was using too much bandwidth apparently), but I know they would support us viewing videos connected to the Chemical Engineering world.

LaurenG's picture

ChEnected would be better if... this may be in conjunction with the Forum idea... However, I would like to see a place where specific questions are asked of the chemical engineering community and then everyone can post to that specific topic. I'm talking about some real, tough issues... Questions that come to mind are: Do you think professors should have more Industry/Real World experience? Do you think Green jobs are going to help or hurt the economy? How long do you think it will take for another energy source to be more prominent than oil in the transportation industry? What benefits do Millennials care about getting from their companies? #Winipad

Tom's picture

ChEnected would be better if... the tab "useful stuff" actually showed useful stuff - like the recent excel tutorials - once agreed to be worthy blog posts or articles, move them to a section in useful stuff where there can be an index to the info for long term and easy retrieval. Seems like most of the useful stuff listed is more like "fun" or "career" oriented.

Tom's picture

ChEnected would be better if... under careers, there could be a section for recruiters who specialize in ChE's - each could list their areas of expertise. I know some recruiters work more regionally, some specialize in food, other in oil and gas, etc.

I would suggest a page for chemical engineering problems.A board of members can post good technical questions related to chemical engineering covering all the core areas like heat transfer,mass transfer,momentum transfer,thermodynamics,transport phenomena,chemical process principles,process control etc.And apart from AIChE members, even others must be allowed to post the questions/answers, which can be displayed on the page after getting accepted by the board.

RC Ramaswamy's picture

...if there is a tab which lists other chemical engineering blogs / websites.

Jared's picture

ChEnected Would Be Even Better If… it had well produced videos of students showing their campus and how it is to study chemical engineering there. #WiniPad

Jared's picture

ChEnected Would Be Even Better If… I've always wanted a place were you could find a very brief but catching information about those big areas in chemical engineering like cement industry, paper industry, iron production, petrochemical... with only serious links were you could seriously learn about them. I just had to do a very long project about cement industry for a class and I learned so much I contact a nearby plant and planned a visit with some friends. I realized I had read so much I knew somehow enough to work on that plant. #WiniPad

Jared's picture

ChEnected Would Be Even Better If… it the graphic design was friendlier, and had some flash animations. This webpage is competing with many others for our attention and sometimes I just don't feel attracted to it. #WiniPad

Jared's picture

ChEnected Would Be Even Better If… how about notifications every time a summer internship programme starts their registration with a standrized resume of their requirements. #WiniPad

Jess's picture

ChEnected Would be Better If….. there was a shop! That's right, I said "shop." It would be awesome to get some tees or buttons printed! I know one of my friends bought herself a button making machine and she made some awesome buttons. ChEnected could hold an incredible contest to find a unique slogan for the tee! "Best slogan gets a tee of their slogan!" We could spread the word through twitter, Facebook and really get a lot of people to participate. A cheesy slogan contest would make us all laugh a little. Along with the shop that's open 24/7, ChEnected could hold monthly drawings of people who participate on here to get a free tee or buttons. That way, if someone is low on money and wants a tee, they can participate on here and have a chance to win one! One winner a month = 12 limited edition ChEnected tees = very cool. People could submit pictures of themselves wearing the tee to earn somethin' extra special, maybe at the end of the year, the people who submitted pictures could be in a special drawing for awesome books, a personalized beaker, etc. I can totally picture someone wearing a ChEnected tee with their lab coat over it and strutting around. I know a lot of designers that are on the internet from all over the world. ChEnected could hold a design/art print contest for designers. They could submit their ideas for ChEnected and the winning designer could sell their art prints on here using their own shop on Big Cartel or etsy or something. I mean, I have a lot of white walls in my room - how awesome would it to buy a wicked chemical engineering art print and stick it on my bland wall? Super awesome. Along with John's forum idea, how about a post/comment achievement on here? For example, when a member reaches, let's say, 500 posts/comments on ChEnected, they get a ChEnected shoutout or something physical like a nifty mug, a subscription to Vogue magazine or a surprise in the mail. We all want to be recognized for our presence here on ChEnected and hey, 500 posts/comments is a lot. We deserve a round of applause and I would love to see ChEnected recognize people who reach the 500 mark. For those people, maybe have a separate section where ChEnected interviews them and they share with us a little bit about themselves. Funny interview questions such as "Who is your favorite Simpsons character and why" to "You're going to be on a deserted island for the next six months. What/who would you NOT bring with you?" With those interviews, how about extra interviews with chemical engineers from all over the USA (or the world). They can talk about their accomplishments, how they got into the field, where they went to school, the ups/downs of their career, their advice to students/others, etc. It would be interesting to see what other chemical engineers do and interviews don't exactly take a lot of effort. You can interview people on AIM, through email, or even, just email them the questions and have them fill it out on their own time. With international chemical engineers, it would be amazing to hear their experiences. ChEnected is online, but it doesn't have to stay online. We need ChEnected in our daily lives. With a tiny shop, we can wear ChEnected. We can show off ChEnected. We can be proud to be part of ChEnected.

I am sold. Those are all fabulous ideas! I think we could get some really awesome t-shirt designs with a contest. and the personalized beaker? Where do I sign up for that one! I think the only thing missing from your list is a tote bag. What might be really cool is to have a get together event for chenected contributors at one of the AIChE meetings - just a little tea or happy hour to meet and get to know each other and maybe have some kind of contest to win the totebags, which would be the ultra-stylish way to carry around your Annual meeting booklet and gear.

RC Ramaswamy's picture

.....there are more participants here. 225 facebook followers out of 30K AIChE members? May be a national level promotion/contest announcement to all (through weekly mails) asking the members to join facebook or make a signature entry in Chenected site. Multiple lucky draws a week may promote signing in / joining in.

RC Ramaswamy's picture

..has section on Q&A/Interviews. Interview a well known person, once a month (Steven Chu, Octave Levenspiel, AlGore etc). Collect 5 -10 unknown facts and trivia about this person and post it. Collect question from the audience/participants and get him answered on that (trivia to subject matters) etc

Part 1) I think you can rephase the question 'What would make ChEnected better?' to 'Why would anyone consistently come back to this ChEnected website?' In principle, the answer is simple - people will consistantly visit the site if they consider its material valuable. I think the next two logical questions to ask are: 1) What do people value (in the context of a website like this)?, 2) and how do we create this valued material? Answering these questions, I can only speak from my own perspective:

Part 2) I think Wikipedia is a good model to look at here. Wikipedia is successful because: 1) it contains (a lot of) information (that everyone values), and 2) it generates this information automatically. Wikipedia is possible because people like talking about themselves, and putting what they know out for others to see; people acting in their own self-interest create value for others.

jvasko's picture

Hi Todd, I like all your suggestions but would challenge point #2 that the information is generated automatically. A wikipedia model is an excellent one but it still requires a lot of editing and vetting by the overall wikipedia community. But I do like wikis and think that one could potentially strengthen the ChEnected community. We'll be fleshing all these ideas out for ChEnected's future development and will keep you posted and invite your future suggestions..

Part 3) I know of companies that have started their own (internal) Wikipedia/facebook, and they do quite well because of the same reasons: 1) these communities contain valuable information (that is valuable to everyone), and 2) this valuable information is generated by the self-interest of its participants. I think ChEnected's best chance at sustainable growth is replicating this model - a sort of 'ChEki' or 'WiChE' (you get the idea). By encouraging participants to create (emphasis on!) practical and useful material, ChEnected can have a wealth of valuable knowledge that generates itself. This ChE-Wikipedia might require a better medium for idea-sharing, though. I personally have found the blog interface quite difficult to work with in this respect ..

J Sib's picture

I think the blog could be improved with more career content. There seems to be a lot of ChE's who haven't be able to find jobs in this economy and some content about surviving as a ChE in a sluggish economy might be appropriate. Also, more content related to career advancement would be helpful. Overall, though this blog seems like its off to a good start.

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