It was Rich Lawson's Twitter feed that first called our attention to a group of middle-market dealmakers who share a common history. They all entered New York investment bank Morgan Stanley's analyst program 20 years ago in August of 1993. "There's actually a number of #privateequity folks from Morgan Stanley class of '93," tweeted @Rich_Lawson back in April, citing as examples Joseph Baratta, global head of private equity at the Blackstone Group LP (NYSE: BX), and Hollie Haynes, a managing director of Silver Lake Sumeru, the unit of PE firm Silver that works on middle market deals. Contributing editor Danielle Fugazy followed up with Lawson offline and, together, they found quite a few leading dealmakers who were his classmates and who are featured in this issue's cover story.

Getting ideas and information for stories from social media is not uncommon these days for us. Often, that's where we first see hints of transactions to come. Although social media is still a new tool for many middle-market dealmakers, it is expected to grow significantly in popularity over the coming year, as the Watermill Group's Ben Procter predicts in this issue's "Private Equity Perspective" column, which also covers other trends that are expected to make an impact over the next year, such as 3-D printing, alternative lending and the Federal Reserve's pullback on quantitative easing.

We are starting to see evidence that dealmakers are becoming increasingly comfortable with social media as we begin to grow online communities through our brand. On Twitter, where we're known as @TheMiddleMarket, we've attracted nearly 4,000 followers. On LinkedIn, more than 3,000 dealmakers follow our group, Mergers & Acquisitions - And LinkedIn Today, the social network's news service, runs our articles frequently. While popular among consumers, Facebook plays a much less important role in business, but we're also there as Mergers & Acquisitions - We hope you'll join us in these communities, where we share timely news, insights and interviews about middle-market M&A.

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