From Alexander Graham Bell to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, communication technology has come a long way.Where does aquatics fit on that continuum? To find out whether industry professionals are still relying on the telephone, or have entered the age of Facebook, we surveyed 266 readers in February 2010.

More than 60 percent of survey respondents say using tools such as e-mail, Web site announcements, social media and mobile messaging is either “very important” or “important” — and our unscientific analysis shows some definite trends. Here’s a look at the results.

Most notably, 90 percent of respondents say their facilities have Web sites. Nearly 80 percent use their sites to communicate with patrons, and 25 percent use them to communicate with their staffs.

To connect with staff, it appears that e-mail and mobile messaging are most popular. A total of 88 percent of respondents use e-mail; 36 percent use mobile messaging; 18 percent use social networks; 2 percent use blogs; 2 percent use Twitter; and 11 percent use an e-newsletter. (Respondents had the option to mark more than one choice.)

To reach patrons, e-mail also is widely used (78 percent), but survey results show some differences in usage patterns. Only 7 percent use mobile messaging, but almost 40 percent use social networking. Additionally, 30 percent say they have e-newsletters; 13 percent are on Twitter; 4 percent communicate with patrons via blogs; and nearly 2 percent use YouTube. (Respondents had the option to mark more that one choice.)

Are you one of the more than 150 million on Facebook? When it comes to social networking, Facebook is the most popular, attracting almost 50 percent of respondents who use social networking. That’s followed by AI Connect, with 20 percent. People were allowed to mark more than one choice, and less than 15 percent report using LinkedIn. Only 5 percent use MySpace, and 7 percent use Twitter.

Ultimately, the use of technology appears likely to increase in the coming years. Nearly 30 percent of respondents report feeling less than proficient when it comes to technology, and more than half say they’re likely to increase their use of technology in the next year.

Of those who expect to make changes, 57 percent plan to update their Web sites and 43 percent plan to dive further into social networking. Also, almost 20 percent plan to begin or expand mobile messaging programs. (Respondents had the option to mark more that one choice.)

Online Presence

Does your operation have a Web site?

You Know You Need It

In general, how important is it for aquatics professionals to use the latest communication technologies (social networking platforms, blogs, mobile communication and the like)?

Getting the Word Out

How do you communicate?

Social Butterflies

Which of the following social networking tools do you use?


Rate your level of proficiency when it comes to using technology communications tools such as e-mail and social networking.

Growth Curve

In the next year, do you plan to increase your use of communications technology (social networking platforms, blogs, mobile communication, Web site, etc.)?

Bigger and Better

Which do you plan to update or start actively using in the next year?