Someone wants me to subscribe to yet another online property magazine.
As if there aren’t enough of them. I’m not a great fan of online info-media. Has anyone ever bothered to extract any statistics as to who actually reads this stuff? Or is it so new and fashionable and ‘exciting’ that property companies just ‘get on with it ’ because … well … everyone else is and thus it ’s ‘expected’, blinded by the false supposition that if the whole world is into it then it must be important? I would hazard to suggest that, give or take a couple of dozen, there is an equal number of galaxies in the firmament as digital property newsletters floating about the internet, and 99% of them get trashed, deleted, ignored, spammed out or go unread. (The other 1% never reach their destination in the first place).
Has anyone really done any analysis on how effective it is? On who actually clicks on a link, sits back with a mug of coffee, puts their specs on and thinks “Hmm, now I’m going to have a lovely time to myself, for the next four hours, staring at this computer screen and absorbing all this information. I might even click on some of these links, make some notes and follow this through.” Hmm. Unlikely. The whole world is totally and utterly awash with information. What the world doesn’t need more of … is news. Thanks very much, but there’s quite enough news happening today anyway for me to want to absorb any more.
So what do I actually, actually want? Well, for starters I want what ’s interesting to me. Me, me, me is all that ’s ultimately important. And there are only 3 things in life that I can never get enough of: the first being only of relevance to one gender, the second and third are ‘money’ and ‘time’. If your online digital media does not satisfy both of those criteria, then it ’s of no interest to me whatsoever. In fact its very existence is probably just going to annoy me; it ’s going to remind me that I don’t have time enough to absorb it, and although I may have a sneaking suspicion that its contents may make me some money, because I don’t have time to absorb it then I’m going to find it doubly irksome.
In these days of high-speed change, of running just to keep up, of incessant demands on my earning capacity (whether that be from kids, governments, endless temptations, material requirements or real or illusory aspirations), I absolutely demand that people take the pith. Everything I am presented with absolutely has to be pithy. To be succinct. To be presented in a way that I grasp the concept and even the meaning behind the concept from a headline, or, failing that, a headline and a sub-head. And then, what comes next, has to be fed to me in short, sharp, digestible bites that I can absorb perhaps whilst I’m also doing something else. Because in order to progress these days, we all have to live in the world of multi-tasking. Give me a sentence, maybe, but it ’s got to be good one, and then bullet point the highlights, please, cos I’m busy. If you grab me with those, then I’m yours. And I might then even do what you want me to do: which is to react. But if you don’t then … I’m somewhere else. In an instant. And there is little more instantly satisfying in digital life than the delete button.
And there is nothing more instantly deletable than something that doesn’t have a cost implication: which is something delivered for free; given away and possibly that you didn’t ask for. It has zero perceived value.
And even if I could be bothered to sit down and scan this copy, what ’s written can’t be read anyway, because the text is too small. Don’t people realise that you can’t read what ’s been written? Without pressing some other bloody buttons and ‘zooming in’. Frankly, life’s too short to ‘zoom in’. When I get the Sunday Times, it doesn’t come with a magnifying glass. If it did, and the sun was out, I’d just use the lens to set fire to it.
But even if it was legible, what the text says is nothing of any consequence: mainly some corporate puff piece taking up a page, some news about something deeply dull that ’s supposed to be important but that nobody actually gives a monkey’s about, a page of filler, some ads, maybe a biog about a tedious character who’s struck lucky despite himself (no doubt focussing on his ‘working class roots’), perchance a feature with such a contrived angle that would give Pythagoras a sleepless night, and a piece that would ordinarily warrant 200 words but has to be padded out to 1400 because everyone’s run out of ideas to fill the back page and the only person in the office with any talent has gone home early.
People simply don’t want this and the world is going to wise up. The penultimate people to figure this are the contributors, as their words fail to illicit any response whatsoever to the content of their articles. The last are the publishers who fail to find anyone willing to waste their time contributing.
As opposed to a publication like I describe above, being dispatched to however many email addresses in an instant, give me a quarter as many readers of a publication like gauk Auctions any day.
People have got to wise-up that the internet is actually yesterday’s news. As I have always maintained, the only serious and real benefit of the internet, from an information provider’s perspective, is email. Instant and free communication. And, yes, perhaps a link to a webpage by way of reinforcement. Its secondary benefit is personal/ social communication (Facebook, Match etc) and, thirdly, shopping. But it is not the best way to communicate news. Newspapers and magazines, that you can actually touch and feel and hold and pay for, are always going to hold sway. There’s something far more tangible about them, and they are thus of much greater perceived importance. That ’s why I like writing for and putting together each issue of Gavelblog , because I know that it will be read, whereas anything I write for an online medium is going to disappear up the arse-end of the ether.