The lighting community has a new online forum with the May 2008 launch of we-light.com, a site dedicated to connecting designers, manufacturers, students, and others with an interest in light and lighting. Started by Ken Douglas, principal of Bloomfield, N.J.?based architectural lighting design firm Illumination Arts and a member of the International Association of Lighting Designers board of directors, the site offers members a place to share ideas and experiences with colleagues in the lighting industry through blogs, photos, message boards, and community groups. "I'm trying to make it so anyone who is involved in the industry can participate in the conversation," Douglas explains. "It seemed like [welight] would be a useful addition to the industry to give people a forum, a site where they can go online and chat and exchange questions."
Membership to the site is free and allows individuals to create a user profi le where they can describe who they are and what they do in regard to the lighting industry. Members can write blog posts, converse via message boards, upload photos, video, or audio, and join various groups aimed at a specifi c lighting-related audience or topic. RSS feeds also are an option on the site to alert members about new posts. The site's membership?approximately 20 members at press time?is growing by word-of-mouth among those in the industry. Currently, Douglas says he is overseeing the site as a public service to try to resolve what he sees as a communication problem in the lighting community. While his business partner from Illumination Arts, Faith Baum, is helping with the site, Douglas notes that we-light is entirely separate from their firm. Once the site's membership grows, Douglas might want to set up networking opportunities where industry professionals can come together to meet and interact personally, but for now he explains that he just wants we-light to be "a place for people to go to share and feel like they're part of the lighting community."