Week 2: From Print to Digital

Our first topic is the transition from Print to Digital publishing and what this entails for the technologies driving the industries, the different levels of professionals and public’s accessing, collaborating and outputting publications at different rates and with varying degrees of quality, and how the publications themselves change within these environments. So here are some considerations I bring to the course:

While print media, in order to maintain readership and revenue, have adapted and converged with rapidly developing technology and the new public spheres they entail, this expanded web based content approach acts more as an extension of the content and form of the companies publication. One of the more important factors for print media is the frequency that any given publication is printed at in direct relation with the quality of the work and the time needed in producing said publication, however the evolution of Web 2.0, faster developments in communication infrastructure and mobile microelectronics allows a near instant publication and delivery platform to a largely decentralised and diffused readership.

Magazines and newspapers are arguably better suited to internet enabled devices due to the low cost of publishing and distribution, the ability to embed multi-media within articles, inviting discussion and comments on articles and because of their frequencies more environmentally sustainable. (Although this is arguable as to the cost of producing micro-electronics and the rate at which they become redundant) Books are another matter; at once the portability of an entire library of books is alluring, saving space, paper, money and greater customisation for impaired individuals, however there is a lack of format portability between electronic readers and between users, screen technologies and prohibitive pricing of devices that are only useful insomuch as there is battery. Books are best served in print largely because they are relatively cheap, usually of very high quality, easy on the eyes and contain a sort of memory encoding when we read them, their stories, concepts and emotions are palpable in their material immediacy and do not get lost in the vast homogeny of the electronic realm.

Lastly the shift in advertising models is well worth a mention, besides how are most of these companies funded and propped up? While advertisements in print media are controlled internally with page space set aside in order to target the mass readerships key demographics, online advertising is becoming more individualised. Advertisements appearing on websites, while still targeting certain demographics and some degree of internal control, are largely outsourced to specialist companies employing data mining to extract personal details and tailor advertisements to the particular individual visiting the website. They can become more intrusive or distracting employing multi-media, however on the flip side users can download programs that will effectively block all advertising. Online advertising is Growing Rapidly, while print advertising in In Decline.

Notably I got through the post without mentioning the ipad that everyone is so obsessed with. It’s almost as if Steve Jobs is the messiah delivering the 10 commandments in electronic form, while really the ipad is a piece of transitional technology, people need to get over it, and the fevered marketing.

Ride the Digital Wave…

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