Making the Most of the ITE e-Community

By Mr. Jeffrey Paniati P.E posted 21 days ago

One of the biggest benefits of being an ITE member is access to the ITE e-Community, ITE’s internal social media network. The e-Community provides a place to share with all ITE members through the All Member Forum, or a narrower interest area through the more than 87 available forums. More than 12,800 of ITE’s 16,000 members are registered for one or more forum. Most choose to get a daily feed that summarizes posts from the last 24 hours and lands in your inbox in the early morning. I often start my workday by scanning through this summary to see what new discussions have been started, or what replies have been added to existing threads.

A powerful aspect of the ITE e-Community is the wide range of topics that are covered. Everything from nuts and bolts of traffic engineering and transportation planning problems to volunteer opportunities, high-level policy directions, and everything in between. If you want to find solutions to challenging problems, this is the place to go. Members from across the country and around the world are at the ready to offer advice, examples, and lessons learned. I am always amazed at the generosity of our members and their willingness to devote their time and expertise to helping others.

ITE staff strives to use e-Community to keep you abreast of the latest developments and upcoming opportunities. ITE’s Marketing Senior Director Pam Goodell does an outstanding job of posting about upcoming Virtual Drop-In Sessions, webinars, upcoming ITE District, Section, and Chapter events, and other professional development opportunities. ITE Director of Planning Sarah Abel often shares the latest developments in her areas of expertise and highlights new ITE products or services. I try to post articles that highlight interesting news in our profession and share major announcements from ITE.

At times, discussions on e-Community can get rather passionate. The recent thread on President Biden’s American Jobs Act is a good example. Because this proposal was centered on infrastructure—yet went beyond transportation—it generated some strong views on the merits of these investments. The e-Community is a good place for opposing perspectives on an issue, IF those views are expressed professionally and respectfully. Though seeing the other side of the argument can be hard, it may be a great way to learn and even sharpen the arguments for your position.

I always hesitate to close a thread, preferring to let the dialogue run its course and allow the community to decide how long to continue the discussion. However, sometimes we have no choice but to close down a thread. When posts become repetitive and continue to make the same point over and over—or worse, when one member attacks another member’s views, rather than focus on the merits of their own perspectives—then the discussion has moved from productive to counterproductive, and it is time to move on.

I appreciate those of you who reach out to me to share your thoughts about an ongoing discussion or a recent post I’ve added. I also thank all of you who post on the e-Community, whether you are sharing your expertise or your opinion on a topic. We will do our best to continue to make e-Community a safe and productive environment that supports the values of ITE–technical excellence, community, making a difference, and diversity and inclusion.

As always, you can reach me on the ITE e-Community, or on Twitter @JPaniatiITE.

This blog is from the June issue of ITE Journal.