My January column in Mechanical Engineering magazine.
Fifteen years ago we jumped into the still-burgeoning Internet age with www.memagazine.org, our website. Since the day we turned the switch on, back in 1996, we’ve hosted hundreds of thousands of visitors on the site and even received a few awards for content, navigation, and design.
Since those early days, websites have evolved, along with the way we relate to them. Our reading habits and our behaviors have changed. From the mid-90s on, the Internet has revolutionized culture and commerce, politics and government. It has redefined how we see ourselves and how others view us, literally as well as figuratively.
What began in a DARPA lab in the late 1960s as the kernel of an idea has changed our world, at least for those of us who remember growing up without something called “Internet.” Those too young to know what it’s like not to have e-mail can’t imagine its impact, just as the rest of us can’t conceive a world without a telephone. It is a tool with no bounds.
It is estimated that in 1993 the Internet carried 1 percent of the information flowing through two-way telecommunication; by 2000 the estimate grew to 51 percent, and by 2007 to more than 97 percent, according to a report last year from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
When we write articles about the world shrinking, or how teams are designing products and systems remotely, or about physicians conducting surgical procedures miles away from a patient, we are talking about the power of the Internet in the hands of engineers.
For the second straight year, the so-called Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving when online retailers offer discounts to capture holiday shoppers, was the biggest sales day of the year, totaling about $1.25 billion and overshadowing brick-and-mortar shops that held their own sales on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.
ASME recognizes that you’re spending a lot of time online, searching for news, shopping for shoes, and even evaluating your health care. Because of this shift to online, the Society has made a significant leap by redesigning ASME.ORG into an online destination that better reflects the society and who we represent: engineers.
Soon, Mechanical Engineering is moving to the “Knowledge Base” section of ASME.ORG. This enables you to benefit from the extended resources that ASME’s website offers, including new content and access to thousands of products and services.
We’re also making your magazine reading experience online more enjoyable with a slick digital infrastructure that will allow you to navigate the magazine in ways you’ve never been able to do before.
And this is only the beginning. In the next few months we will convert our current online magazine archive into this same digital format, and bring you tablet and iPad versions as well as a mobile app so that you can access Mechanical Engineering when you want it and how you want it—print, digital, or mobile.
We are also evaluating how we are serving you from an editorial perspective. We’ve conducted a readership survey and in the coming months you’ll see some graphic and content changes to the magazine.
Complementing the strength of ASME.ORG’s new content wealth, Mechanical Engineering will continue to provide unique perspectives on critically important topics and present the musings of innovators who believe that, like the Internet of 1996, we’re constantly redrafting our future.