I’m a little late on this one, but hear me out - the NYTimes published an article recently on the online shelter magazine industry. If you haven’t already, go give it a read. It got me thinking on the ever-evolving difference between a blog and a paid publication (be it electronic or paper-based).
I find myself generally supportive of magazines with an army of paid editorial staff. Magazines create content I am willing to pay for such as good, balanced writing to match the eye candy and products they are picturing (something lacking in many blogs). There’s also a properly diverse range of coverage. I run this personal blog out of a keen interest in what I find and enjoy, but nothing I post is under any editorial standard, or deadline, or anything else a normal magazine would contend with. That’s why I do this for free, and I don’t really expect to make it big as I’m not posting the kind of content that really deserves 10,000 hits-a-day kind of attention. I see some of the very popular blogs out there spoon feeding a captive audience on a tried, tested and true formula of “insert pretty picture, write four sickly sweet lines about how they’d like to buy it, rake in advertising dollars”, or worse, “create content from keen volunteer army, post, link to volunteer’s site for possible sales, rake in advertising dollars”. I guess in the end, I don’t believe these super popular design/shelter blogs, as much as I enjoy looking at them, are really contributing anything to a thoughtful discussion and dialogue about design. They are not pushing things forward, and often they are just showing us another shiny trinket to buy. The authors of many of these blogs are not experienced editors themselves (a position that for good reason takes years to alight to in the real world). Worse yet, looking at some of these sites, I often feel pandered to instead of challenged and interested. Instead of seeing thoughtful, interesting and yes, very beautiful magazines like Domino fold, I wonder if readers of blogs could just shell out a mere $25-$40 a year for a subscription to access something more considered and truly sweated over from tip to tail. Maybe like Uppercase Magazine, or Frankie’s mook (nope, not a typo, that’s a magazine-book), Spaces.
Besides that, whatever the online magazine’s content, just designing something in a standard print format and posting a PDF seems a gross oversight in the internet medium we have available to us. Sadly, the most exciting web media is also essentially locked off from us without (often pricey) web developers to help us along….perhaps one day these things will be more in harmony, probably when we start paying for content we’d actually like to read along with all the very, very pretty pictures. Does anyone remember the old CBC Radio 3 online magazine, circa 2005? That was an AMAZING (not to mention award-winning) use of the online medium as a magazine like we’d never seen before. To go out on a positive note, I’d like to see more of that amazingness in the future. Let’s embrace the internet, but properly, oui?
Posted by Vikki on June 3rd at 8:47am