Anthony Haynes writes: The phrase ‘science communication’ has become well established. In principle it can refer to any communication relating to science; in practice it most often refers to communication between scientists and other groups — often the general public, in the form of, say, attendees of science festivals or museums.
Accompanying the phrase is a well established hashtag: #scicomm.
But what about engineering communication? There is no comparable hashtag.
It’s not needed, one might argue: engineering is a science and so is encompassed by #scicomm.
That has some truth in it. When I think, for example, of research engineers I work with, some are doing work that proceeds very like science in several other disciplines. Laboratory work on the development of self-healing concrete, for example, or on thermal flows in the heating of rooms.
So far as I can see, such work has no special communication requirements.
But in other ways engineering can be quite distinctive. Engineering can, for example, be markedly pragmatic, with a focus more on the how than the why.
I think, for example, of two institutions near where I live. First, Prickwillow Museum, with marvellous collection of pumping engines; and, second, Stretham Old Engine, a steam-powered pumping station.
One could , of course, look at both collections through the prism of science. I’d agree that both museums make sterling contributions to #scicomm.
But, equally, one doesn’t have to look through that lens. The Prickwillow website, for example, seems most focused on an engineering audience (see, for example, the engineering page and the various events it runs).
I suggest we could do with dedicated hashtag for this kind of thing. #engcomm would be nice — and some people have played with this — but others tell me that they think it could denote ‘English communication’ (and it’s also used for a specific event in Canada).
#engincomm seems an acceptable fallback.