Even if you never venture onto the Internet, you’ve probably read or heard about the social networking Web sites that have overtaken the information highway.

Interesting, informative and sometimes even addictive, Web sites such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter have become among the most popular stops for people surfing the Internet. Through them, you can get reacquainted with old friends from college or high school, meet other people with the same interests or learn more about your favorite band, actor or magazine.

I must admit I was slow to jump on the social networking phenomenon, although my wife has long had a Facebook account as well as a MySpace page. Although some people can spend hours on Facebook finding out what old co-workers or boyfriends are up to, I’m more interested in scanning the online headlines of newspapers.

But if you’re a regular Facebook visitor, then perhaps you know what I’m about to announce: Snips magazine now has a Facebook page.

A few months ago, our marketing department quietly created a site, which soon was found by a handful of Snips “fans,” even though it hadn’t officially been announced. It was mentioned in an ad in our e-newsletter.

If you visit www.Facebook.com and do a search for “Snips magazine,” you should come across our site. What you’ll find there is a mix of photos from some of our recent stories, posts about online and print articles, comments from editors and a video on how to subscribe.

We’re hoping to make more improvements and additions in coming months. If you’re a regular Facebook user and a fan of Snips, and have ideas on how to improve our site, let me know. Send me an e-mail at mcconnellm@bnpmedia.com. And any fans are welcome to post their own comments to the site as well.

Cooling down

Changing subjects, the summer is winding down now. How did your business fare? For some parts of the country, it was a very hot season, which provided HVAC contractors with a boost in an otherwise lackluster year (For more on this topic, see the sidebar on July’s online poll.). But in the Midwest, it was unusually cool. Michigan only had a couple days the whole season where temperatures officially reached 90°F or higher, and most days were around 80°F - not exactly temps that make homeowners clamor for air conditioning.

But if there is good news, it may be that some experts are starting to say the U.S. recession may “officially” be ending soon. I put “officially” in quotes because, as the Obama administration has acknowledged, unemployment is likely to continue to rise even if the overall economy stops contracting - and until people find jobs, few will consider a recession over.

How are you handling this downturn? Do you have any tips to share with other contractors on how you’re finding work?

July online poll results