In some ways, it really does not feel like it has been five years since I welcomed readers to Snips’ 75th anniversary issue.

But in other ways, it seems like it has been a very long time, at least in the worlds of publishing and sheet metal. Back in 2007, the sheet metal industry was generally booming.

In publishing (at least for construction trade magazines), the changes that the Internet and social media would bring had not yet affected many titles. Many readers were still willing to wait a week or a month to get their industry news. Most magazines, like Snips, had operated a website for some time, but it wasn’t much more than an abbreviated version of the printed issue.

And social media websites were something for teenagers and college students to waste time on, not a way for businesses to expand their customer base.

Five years later, the construction industry is suffering from the worst downturn in decades, and Facebook and Twitter have taken over the Internet.  

Pressing forward

But Snips has continued to evolve and grow, offering more information, and more ways to consume that information, than ever before.

In the last five years, we have turned www.Snipsmag.com into a regularly updated depository of industry information. In addition to most of the print magazine’s articles, we offer Web exclusives such as white papers, and daily updates of industry news. And in the past year, we’ve added a growing collection of videos shot at trade shows and audio podcast interviews with industry experts. We’re even listed on iTunes.

Who says sheet metal doesn’t change much?

From the “home base” of our website, you can go to our Facebook (www.Facebook.com/SnipsMag) page and talk with Snips editors and readers, as well as view pictures from events like the AHR Expo minutes after they were taken. And if you want even more news and frequent updates, head over to our popular Twitter page (http://twitter.com/snipsmag). Items are posted every hour or so during the week, and even more frequently when editors attend major events.  

Pick your format

In addition to our many print subscribers, a growing number of readers prefer to receive Snips’ digital edition, an interactive, PDF-style reproduction of the magazine with live links to advertisers and articles. You can read it on your desktop or laptop computer, or through one of the popular tablet models like the iPad.

When we first discussed celebrating our 80th anniversary with a special issue, I wasn’t sure what I would fill it with. But as I started working on the issue, I realized just how different the Snips of 2012 is compared with the magazine of 2007.

And I often wonder what Ed Carter, Nick Carter or even my former boss, Ed Bas, would think about all the ways Snips has changed. I doubt any of them ever thought producing the magazine would entail being a TV reporter or radio interviewer, let alone figuring out what’s an effective “tweet.”

Despite all the changes, at its heart, I still like to think of Snips the way Ed Carter put it, a “friendly, close to the reader” magazine, or “the community newspaper of sheet metal and HVAC,” as Bas described it when he hired me.

If the last five years have taught me anything, it’s to not try to guess what Snips will be like when we celebrate our 90th, 95th or centennial anniversaries. But keeping Snips a people-oriented industry publication is something I hope will never change. And thank you, as always, for reading it.