As a communicator, I'm constantly amazed how social media continues to impact consumers' lives in new and surprising ways. Social networks reach an estimated 940 million people around the world, according to a January 2010 research study by a European Internet research firm. Politicians, big-box retailers, and airlines are among some of the thousands of industries reaching customers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other spaces.

Many of you have already connected with our Energy Savers Facebook fan page [1]. Thank you! More than 1,300 Facebook users are social with Energy Savers, where we publish our blog posts, money- and energy-saving tips, and other similar information. Additionally, our fan page provides a place where you can share ideas and interact with other energy-conscience consumers.

The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) also recently launched a Facebook fan page [2]. We encourage you to "fan" this page, too. We're using Facebook to announce energy efficiency and renewable energy news from the Department of Energy, as well as share stories about people building America's clean energy economy. With your participation, we expect the page to grow and improve as time goes on.

Like the Energy Savers fan page, the EERE fan page is another place to connect with Facebook users and share ideas, opinions, and information. Please also feel free to leave suggestions and ideas for improving the page on our wall [3], or you also may contact the EERE Webmaster [4], or leave a comment on this post.

With the 40th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22 less than three weeks away, now's an especially good time to connect with Energy Savers and EERE on Facebook.

Chris Stewart is a senior communicator at DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which assists EERE in providing technical content for many of its Web sites.