There's no doubt many of you are using the EC&M Web site (www.ecmweb.com) on a regular basis. The latest report I read (July 2008) revealed a 34% increase in traffic compared to the same month last year — and an 11.2% increase over last month. Monthly page views consistently hover around the 350,000 level, and the number of unique visitors to the site typically tops the 100,000 mark. This is exciting news for us. Your growing interest in our Web site and its supporting digital product lines (i.e., videos, podcasts, webinars, and digital editions of the print magazine) allow us to expand our product offerings and drive our efforts to enhance your online experience.

In the next few weeks, we'll implement yet another exciting feature for you to try out. To help build a better sense of community among our readers and site visitors, we're adding an “article commenting” feature to a few of the more popular sections of the site. This new tool will allow you to share your thoughts on an article you've just read with anyone else that reads the same piece. All posts will appear in individual comment boxes at the end of the article for everyone else to see. In other words, you and your peers (as well as the EC&M editorial team) can create a running dialog of thoughts generated by the original content of the article. Our initial focus will target articles in the National Electrical Code (NEC) and Design/Engineering categories.

For those of you who are Web savvy, there's no doubt you've seen this feature on other sites. For example, I spend many nights and weekends working on home remodeling projects. To keep up on the latest trends and learn new techniques, I read a lot of “how-to” articles on the This Old House Web site. This site offers a similar article commenting feature that I've used many times before. It not only makes me feel like I'm part of a community of like-minded individuals, but it also has allowed me to learn from other users' experiences. Many times, individuals posting a comment have additional design/installation tips to share, other resources to promote, or innovative tools they've run across that have helped them get the job done more quickly or effectively. I find this type of exchange to be extremely valuable.

The article commenting feature on the EC&M Web site can do the same thing for you. No longer will you have to send us an e-mail and wait as we try and track down an answer for you through the article's author or other sources we may have at our disposal. Now, you'll be able to post your comments directly on the article's Web page and start interacting with others that choose to join in on the fun. Of course, the more of you who choose to participate, the better the exchange and the more valuable the tool becomes. So if you haven't yet made that leap into the world of digital conversation yet, now would be a good time to start. This is an easy first step everyone should feel comfortable in making. Happy commenting!