Changing Media

These days, magazine editors are constantly faced with changing technology. The trick is to know when something is a fad and can be dispensed with, and when something is here to stay and needs to be implemented.

I first met Ian Scott of back in 1999. About a year later, after much effort on his part to convince me to set up an internet site for RodMaker, I spoke to him in person and gave him the go ahead to build a subscription page for the magazine on the web. Although I wasn’t convinced at the time, the ensuing years proved that over half the readership actually preferred subscribing or renewing online rather than by mail or phone.

Another media advancement came more recently in the form of “blogging.” I immediately saw the possibility it offered to converse with the readers on a daily basis and offer them assorted glimpses into the magazine. What you’re reading here is the result of my belief that blogging is going to be around for awhile. It’s another aspect of the changing technology that has already worked out very well for the magazine.

Other current media trends, however, don’t excite me nearly as much.  Don’t ever expect to get a “tweet” from RodMaker. I’ll never put the magazine on Twitter. Nor will you ever see a RodMaker Facebook page. One local and very ardent subscriber was so convinced that RodMaker needed a Facebook presence that he went about setting up a page for me. I hated to hurt his feelings after such a kind gesture, but I’m not a Facebook kind of guy. I’ve never been on Facebook and never will be. I may be wrong, but I believe both Twitter and Facebook are passing fancies that aren’t likely to be around in another year or two. I made the decision to skip both of them a good while back.

I have put special collections of RodMaker articles on Special Edition CDs, but have no intention of ever offering electronic versions of RodMaker. I’ve watched too many other publications go that route and in almost every instance, it’s hurt rather than helped them. I still believe that most folks who subscribe to RodMaker prefer something tangible for their money. Something they can carry with them and read at lunch, in the evening or on the commuter train.

The worst thing that can happen in today’s changing media world is to make the wrong decision and suddenly find that you’ve been left behind. So far that hasn’t happened here at RodMaker. But you never know what new medium may pop up next year or even next month. The tough part is figuring out which ones to pass on by and which ones to get on board with.

Tom Kirkman