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Welcome To Our New 'Hood

NPR's new social media software goes online today. You can guess what that means: changes in how you comment and how we respond. It's part of the infrastructure of our new on-line community.

Some of the big differences:

- Before you comment, you'll have to register and create a public profile. That's the downside.

- Your comments will go up immediately, not sit around waiting someone here to hit "publish."

- You can comment on broadcast and web-based stories, not just blog posts. You can also recommend stories.

- Your comments may turn up on the NPR home page or as highlights on a story page.

- You can link with NPR staff and other users through their public profiles (including me, as soon as I get time to create my own profile).

NPR's Web guru, Dick Meyer, has written a column about the changes. And if you want to plunge into the NPR social scene, you can go straight to the faqs or the registration page.

Will and I hope these changes spur, not restrain, the conversation.