All the ways SolidWorks Legion communicates in Social Media

The use of Social Media has blossomed in the Information Age.  There is a lot of variety available.  SolidWorks Legion is now automatically published to several outlets in one form or another.

  • RSS feed, with a partial or full preview.  It has been employed for republishing snippets at a variety of sites, including SolidMentor, and is the backbone for several other feed systems, including personalized sites like Netvibes.
  • Twitter, with title and link.
  • Tumblr, with title and link.
  • Posterous, with title and link.
  • Facebook, with partial preview (a Facebook app is also available, though I’ve not seen use for this yet)
  • Google+, with partial preview (not automatically published at this time)
  • Linkedin, via my Profile page with partial preview.

The amazing thing is the SolidWorks Legion has followers on all of these sites.  Many of the followers are the same across the sites, but many are not.  Though Facebook is has become the de facto standard, its top status is by no means guaranteed in the long run.  Due to the nature of Twitter, Facebook and Google+, the content of each of these outlets varies a bit beyond the articles that are publised on SolidWorks Legion.


On Twitter, I publish SolidWorks Legion content to my personal Twitter account, fcsuper.  I talk about a lot of different things through my Twitter account, many of which have nothing to do with SolidWorks, CAD or Engineering.

SolidWorks Legion uses Tumblr and Posterous in a similar manner as Twitter, to post just the article title and links.  Though followers are light on these sites, they do generate some hits.


On Facebook, I’ll often post extra interesting links to other blogs and news articles.  However, SolidWorks Legion has not had a Google+ page long enough to develop it’s own personality there.  I like the formats of both Facebook and Google+ because they allow me to publish links in an attractive and informative matter, mixed in with additional content.  They also allow me to crudely track the reach that each article achieves.


In addition to these avenues, another form of Social Media is taking off.  SolidWorks Legion doesn’t have an outlet in these (yet), but image sites have really expanded in the past few years.  Sites such as Flickr, Photobucket and deviantArt have increased the social element  with engaging tools such user generated contests, groups, favorites, comments, notes, embedded links, and other functions now common in Social Media.


Then, of course, there’s the 800 pound gorilla in the room, YouTube (this link is to my personal channel).  Again, SolidWorks Legion isn’t publishing there yet.  YouTube is now a tremendous resource for all sorts of content, including thousands of SolidWorks videos.

The average person involved in Social Media doesn’t need to think about the variety of options available.  You can choose for yourself which medium is best to suit your style.  A publisher needs to think about all of these outlets, to reach as many people as possible on their own terms.  As such, sites like SolidWorks Legion post across multiple outlets.  Fortunately, there are many tools that make this fairly easy.


Welcome to the brand new look

Welcome to the brand new look for the SolidWorks Legion website (  The website is now upgraded to the latest WordPress version 2.8.5.  This allows for more powerful functionality.  I finally have polls that don’t suck!!!

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Please explore the site.  Contact us if there are any funny things that happen with the site during your visit here.  Many of the previous posts where formatted for the old website layout.  Due to this, they may appear a little messy.  I’ll be working to clean these up over time.  The old version of WordPress used to hide double spacing between sentences (for whatever reason).  The current version does not.  Apparently, as part of this upgrade, I get a bunch of extra symbols where the old version hide those spaces.  So, if you see a funny A after every sentence in an older post, just ignore it.

Thank you Jennifer Szabo for again rescueing me from certain calamity.

Staying Connected to all things SWW10

Connect to the SolidWorks Community

There’s already a lot of buzz being built about SolidWorks World 2010 (SWW10), even with it being months away.  To help readers keep track of the goings-on, SoildWorks website has a pipe that feeds articles from many of the SolidWorks related blogs.  Not every article fed into the pipe is going to be about SolidWorks World 2010 right now, but a lot of them are about it already (such as the article you are reading right now).

Additionally, on that same webpage resides a Twitter fed pipe for all tweets labelled with the hatch #SWW10 or #SWW2010.  Since the SolidWorks World 2010 hatch is used, it’s a sure bet that the tweets fed into the pipe are about SWW10 in some fashion or another.  There aren’t many tweets just yet, but as we get closer to the conference, this will change drastically as more comments and planning are discussed.

In addition to this, I’ve set up the Twitter pipe on SolidWorks Legion, which will remain visible in the upper right menu until some time after SWW10 concludes in January 2010.  *Update, I’ve removed the Twitter feed from my sidebar due to slow load times.  Please see my Twitter feed page.*

Brave new world (online)

SolidWorks Corp is doing something well.  They are taking advantage of current and relavent networking technologies, such as Twitter (search #SolidWorks), to promote the software and its users.   In fact, SolidWorks Corp has a substantial online presence.  Some of this is their own doing, some of it by users stepping forward on their own.  There are a multitude of outlets for information and support.  There are forums, blogs, resource sites, networking sites (such as Linkedin and Facebook) .

Even with all this, there are still other interactive online resources.  Who’s checked out the SolidWorks article?  I recently made a minor edit to that article.  It can certainly benefit from many more edits.  Or, who’s checked out or contributed to SolidMentor’s Solidwiki?  This is on Ben’s site.  He also has the SolidJott SolidWorks add-in, which is growing rapidly in popularity.  What are your favorite online interactive sites?

SolidWorks Resources Availability

There was a time when online SolidWorks resources were far and few between.  When I started using SolidWorks back in 1998, I found nothing.  As time progressed, sporadic sites popped up and vanished.  This or that VAR would occasionally put up a page with macros or examples of models.  Many of these sites were never updated or were simply taken down later.  After a time, I stopped looking online for SolidWorks resources.

Then in 2005, I started looking again.  To my surprize, I found several useful sites.  Most of the sites were still limited to one or two pages of content, but they provided real resources.  Some had a page or two of macros, some How-to articles, career info, etc, such as Matt Lombard’s old site and Lenny’s site. A couple of sites where commercial in nature, selling macros, add-ins or educational services, such as Bitwright or SWTools .  Of course, some promote the individual’s consulting business while providing free content, such as Roland’s site Esox Republic and also Joseph Jones’ site NHCAD.  The most ambitious site was likely Mike J. Wilson’s Web Site, which used to have tons of models and the infamous SolidWorks based debunking video which proved the 9/11 Pentagon attack was by an airliner and not a missile (still available on YouTube here).

However, the one thing I missed was a comprehensive site with tons of files, FAQ’s and other SolidWorks items in one place.   My particular interest was macros.  I remember back in the AutoCAD days when I could go searching out LISP routines, blocks and customized menus in databases (even before the days of the modern internet).  CADalyst provided invaluable resources, some of which is still available in various forms such as books and their home website.  Nothing similar existed for SolidWorks. 

To answer this need, I created the independent site Lorono’s SolidWorks Resources.  My intent was to create a site for new, intermediate and experienced users looking to expand their knowledge and SolidWorks skills in a way that I wished was available when I started using SolidWorks.  It includes over 100 files, mostly focused on macros, data content, utilities.  It has tons of weblinks in a collection so big, I’ve not been able to find any others like it.  In this collection are links to SolidWorks related forums, resource links (such as the above sites), tutorials, online inquiries, general engineering and SolidWorks blogs.  

This brings me to the next point.  SolidWorks related blogs have exploded in the past year and a half.  I’ve been a participant in the online blogging community since 2001 and maintained my personal blog since the beginning of 2002.  However, I never thought about blogging on SolidWorks until Matt Lombard started up his blog in early 2007 mid-2006.  Then Lenny started up a great blog site in July of 2007.  These are not the earliest SolidWorks related blogs, but they are the first ones I noticed.  Mike Puckett’s blog goes back to Feb 2007.  Devon Sowell’s Blog goes back to June 2006.  He now has another blog as well which is specifically geared for PDMWorks and other similar software.   SolidWorks User Group Network (SWUGN) now lists 16 major SW blogs, and more are out there.  I attribute a lot of this growth directly and indirectly to the SWUGN and its leadership.  The blog has proven to be a very valuable tool. 

Another valuable tool is the new incarnation of 3D ContentCentral (3DCC), available as a link from within SolidWorks software.  When I first saw the new site, I started thinking that I would no longer need my own resources site.  However, they serve different purposes and have little overlap.  Many types of downloads on Lorono’s SolidWorks Resources are not available on 3DCC, and visa verse.  SolidWorks has done what it needs to do to keep 3DCC relevant and useful.  3DCC maintains its focus on 3D models from manufacturers and users.  There’s a new request line in which users can put in requests for models.  Another user can fulfill the request by uploading that model.  

I think the SolidWorks online community is finally providing the breathe needed to support its supposed 600000 users.  I have noticed that a slim percentage of those individuals are online finding what is available.  It seems the next step would be for SolidWorks to promote its online community aggressively to make the average user aware that free, comprehensive resources are available.  They started doing this at SolidWorks World 2008 by upping the profile of SWUGN.  More has to be done to get the word out.

I’m just a blogger who is blogging about blogging. 🙂 I’m doing what I can to help the effort.  I know others are giving demonstrations at user groups about what is available.  Hopefully everyone can get the word out, even if it is just to person in the next cube over.  I suspect that more people being aware of what’s out there will result in even more resources becoming available online.