While each issue of Contemporary Stone & Tile Design has something fresh to offer, I always find our summer issue to be particularly fun to put together. For as long as I can remember, this issue has always been dedicated to “decorative and glass tile.” I find it appropriately fitting, since the summer months are usually associated with bright colors and a sense of being carefree.

As we prepare this focus each year, I discover tiles with more texture, depth and reflective qualities. The advances in technology are truly staggering. It is amazing to consider all of the options that are out there now. Way back when, I used to only think of mosaics when it came to glass tile. Today, glass tiles are coming in an assortment of shapes and sizes. There are ones that are made to look like bubbles, hexagons, etc.

One of my recent discoveries is Modono Glass Tile™ that is featured on our cover and in an article that begins on page 24. These tiles have a very reflective quality, which makes them change color as daylight hits their surface. I also find it interesting that large-format pieces were used as accents on the exterior of a commercial building. The tiles ranged in size from 12 x 12 to 12 x 24 inches — something I don’t think is commonly seen for this type of application.

In addition to the features that illustrate some finished projects using decorative and glass tile, we have also included a roundup of these products on page 34 of this issue. I hope you enjoy checking them out as much as I have. Additionally, even more new stone and tile products can be found in our Coverings 2011 Product Review — starting on page 14.

Coverings was just one of several stone and tile exhibitions that I had the opportunity to visit in recent months. Now that I have been back in the office for a while, I have had time to reflect on some other observations I made while on the road, and I feel they are also worth sharing.

The use of social media by industry members for business purposes is definitely on a significant incline. Many of the Web sites from industry companies, associations and trade shows — as well as brochures and press releases — are promoting Facebook pages or asking readers to follow them on Twitter. Seminars explaining how social media can benefit a business are now also part of the lineup of the educational programs that are held in conjunction with trade exhibitions.

I have to admit that I had been lagging behind a bit when it comes to our magazine’s Facebook page and Twitter account. But after returning from Coverings a few months ago, I started thinking of the ways that Facebook and Twitter could benefit the Contemporary Stone & Tile Design brand — and there are definitely a few. Social media provides another platform to get the word out about whatever might be of importance at the time. As a magazine, it allows me to let our readers know about upcoming industry events or to share up-to-the-minute happenings at these events. They also are another way to share industry news and new product launches.

Social media seems to be here to stay, and no matter what your business, it might be worth exploring ways that it can benefit your operation and help communicate your message and mission. I want to let our readers know that I am diligently posting the latest news and other topics, images and videos pertaining to the stone and tile industry on Contemporary Stone & Tile Design’s Facebook page, which we share with our sister publication — Stone World — at: www.facebook.com/stonetilepage, and you can also follow us on Twitter (@cstdmag). Additionally, you can see a unique collection of stone industry videos on YouTube by visiting www.youtube.com/stoneworldmagazine

Feel free to visit our social media pages, and don’t hesitate to share your comments, feedback and ideas with us.