When I sat down to write this month's column, I was a little stumped as to what I was going to write. The biggest topic these days is the economy, and honestly, the less said about the entire mess the better. The talking heads on TV and the newspapers provide a much better run-down on what's going on than I can here. So, what do I do every month? I've always been of the mind that it's my job to provide business intelligence and information that helps you—our readers and subscribers—do your job more efficiently and profitability. I'm of the mindset that the information we provide should be accessible in whatever format you're most comfortable in receiving, whether it be the printed magazine, the digital edition delivered directly to your inbox, or as a webpage on our site.
Over the last few years, we've grown our interactive resources and I'm proud of the results. From the search function to allow you to find articles in our archives to our Online Buyers' Guide to put you in touch with suppliers and manufacturers of the products you need, we've always been on the leading edge when it comes to delivering content. We've been providing our digital edition to subscribers for the past two years, providing a digital replica of the magazine and an interactivity that you can't get in the printed edition.
And because we know how important it is to stay up-to-date, we offer a Weekly Update eNewsletter which we've been delivering every Wednesday for the past five years—if not longer.
But things have changed again. Social media is on the rise and many of you are using it, trying to navigate it to see how it can be used to help strengthen your businesses. This element gives you the interactivity that you can't get with a website or the printed page. It helps connect us as members in a community in a more "real-time" space.
I know in my case, my experiment has had some very fruitful results so far. Back in December I joined Twitter (www.twitter.com/wfi) and it has already put me in touch with some fantastic individuals in the industry, including the company that created the wrap that appears on this month's cover (www.twitter.com/bluemedia). Additionally, at the end of January, I created a Wide-Format Imaging networking group on LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=1780044) to connect wide-format print providers, suppliers, and manufacturers so they could exchange ideas, share advice, source jobs, and connect with each other.
One comment from Bob Margolis, vice president of business development at FATHOM on the LinkedIn group really touches on the real possibilities of social networking. He said, "In these difficult times, the greater your sphere of influence can become, the more you increase the chances for success both for business and personally. As social networking becomes more accepted in the business world, it will become one of the easiest ways to introduce new products, services, and people."
So, for those of you already using these tools, please link to us and let's share our knowledge. If you haven't gotten involved yet, jump in, the water's fine.
Our mission to provide industry intelligence, best practices, and information about new products in the wide- and grand-format digital inkjet printing market hasn't changed. We haven't changed. We've simply broadened the way we provide you with the information you need so you can make a better informed decision for your business.