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Social Networking

Social Networking

Everyone who tweets, raise your hand. Now, everyone who doesn’t know a hash tag from hash browns, raise your hand.

I feel like we’re friends, so I’m going to admit something to you: I’m a reluctant tweeter. Reluctant is a understatement: I’ve created exactly one tweet since I opened my Twitter account more than 2 years ago.

Periodically, I’ll receive an email notice from Twitter, informing me that someone is “following” me. I make a noise that sounds something like a snort and think to myself, “Following what??” when this occurs.

EHS Today chief editor Sandy SmithBut my reality is that we live in a world where media outlets continually are pushing their “brands” (we’re not magazines anymore) to be savvy about social media. We are expected to tweet, Facebook and do all those other nouns-now-verbs having to do with social networking.

As I write this, EHS Today’s Facebook page has 845 fans and we have 1,614 people following us on Twitter. (Unlike my personal Twitter account, EHS Today has a robust Twitter account, having served up 1,147 tweets since it launched.)

Next month, I’ll be taking an in-house training in tweeting (try saying that five times fast!). I will learn the difference between hash tags and hash browns. I will know how many characters I’m allowed to use to impart my words of wisdom. I will become savvy in ways to increase the number of my followers and learn tricks to get them to re-tweet my tweets.

I’m not 100 years old, but sometimes I feel like it. When I first started at this company, nearly 20 years ago, a staff of five editors put out one magazine a month. There was no Web site, Facebook page or Twitter account. We didn’t host webinars or podcasts or conferences. We could not have conceived of an entire issue of the magazine that had been digitalized to be read on a smart phone that weighs a couple of ounces. Times have changed, my friends.

I think of the editors who have gone before me – 70+ years of editors – and with the exception of my mentor, Stephen Minter, I know for a fact that they would be amazed at the number of people EHS Today now reaches on any given day or month and the ways we have to reach them.

News no longer is saved up for a month; we post it daily on our Web site. Articles that never would have seen the light of day once the issue was published live long, healthy lives on We interact with readers via comments and blogs on the Web site, Twitter and Facebook. We have enewsletters that drop into in-boxes at least twice a week that feature news and product highlights.

All of this we do to communicate with you, but in reality, there’s no substitute for face-to-face time with our readers. Which is why we are launching a conference built around our America’s Safest Companies award program.

Over the years, we’ve met with representatives from all of the ASC companies and learned (and frankly, been amazed by) their best practices. At the same time, we’ve spoken with some of the greatest legal minds about OSHA law, interviewed thought leaders in EHS and risk management, received updates from the people in charge of writing and enforcing our workplace safety and environmental laws and generally picked the brains of some of the smartest people around.

And we want to bring all of that to you in the form of a conference.

I can tell you the dates – Sept. 11-12, 2012 – and that it will be held in Chicago’s McCormick Place. We are finalizing the agenda and speakers now, and we will be in touch as soon as we can – via Facebook, Twitter,, EHS Today magazine, direct mail, telephone calls and every other way we can think of – to share details of the conference with you.

I’d love to see you in Chicago. I’ll be the person sitting in the back…tweeting.

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