I’m going digital not because I want to save the world one tree at a time (although I do my best to limit paper in my life both for simplicity and environmental concerns), but because I’ve come to the conclusion that blogs are far more valuable to me than print mags.
There were a couple major catalysts for this sudden change of heart. Primarily, I realized that print mags are nothing but massive billboards and advertisements. Sure, there are some valuable tips in every mag I read, but they are sandwiched between so many ads that it becomes a difficult task of separating the wheat from the chaff. Further, when there are valuable tips or anecdotes, I’ve come to realize that they are seldom unbiased. I won’t call myself a cynic, but I do realize that the incentives of the writers and editors aren’t always aligned with my, the reader’s, incentives. I’ll give you the three publications that led me to this switch. I have no problem calling them out:
Men’s Health: Up until last week, I was an email subscriber to two of their newsletters. I had been deleting them without reading them for the past few months. Why? Instead of having links to articles in their email blasts, they began compiling lists. For example, The 50 Best Men’s Health Sex Tips Ever, on their homepage right now. Click on it and you have to click on each of the 50 tips one-by-one and wait for the page to reload each and every time. The worst part is that they’ll throw in a Men’s Health pop-up every few tips, which is a huge annoyance. Their goal is not to inform us, the readers, but rather to sell us all sorts of Men’s Health and ancillary products. No thanks. Sorry Men’s Health, I’m gone. By the way, the print version is just as bad.
Travel & Leisure: One of my life passions is travel. Although I don’t get to travel as much as I would like, my dream list is a mile long and grows daily! I used to love this magazine until I could no longer distinguish between real content and advertising content. There would be a seemingly great feature on beautiful Caribbean beaches and I would begin reading it, until I saw the fine print on top, “Special Advertising Section.” Why can’t I just enjoy a feature without being pitched?? This is hardly something new – travel writing is notorious for lack of objectivity. This is well-documented in the controversial book Do Travel Writers Go To Hell? A Swashbuckling Tale of High Adventures, Questionable Ethics, and Professional Hedonism by Thomas Kohnstamm. If that title doesn’t intrigue you, I don’t know what will!
ESPN and ESPN.com: I’ve shied away from these two recently not because of excessive advertising (although ESPN / The Disney Family of Networks is a master at self-promotion). ESPN.com has become a source of sensory overload for me personally. Every time I click on a link or a story, a video and a bunch of ads pop up. I don’t necessarily want to watch videos on my computer. If I wanted to see highlights, I’d turn on my television. I just want to scan the sports news so I can talk the talk at the water fountain, ya know? My new primary source is The Bleacher Report. Check it out (no affiliation or anything) for all the sports news with plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor sprinkled in.
So when I combine all those reasons with the fact that blogs simply offer more valuable, up-to-date, unbiased information, it’s a no-brainer to ditch the paper and ink for the digi version.
Has anyone had the same experience with print publications?