Russell Davies: Small insights are at times more helpful than the big picture
By Russell Davies, campaignlive.co.uk, Thursday, 17 May 2012 08:00AM
Sometimes there isn't a big single truth. Sometimes you can't wrap everything up into a convenient theme, even if you type really hard and drink strong coffee.
Sometimes you have to say "here are three interesting things you should think about" and you have to leave the big theme for another week.
So here's Thing Number One.
Peter Preston has written a splendid analysis of newspaper sales and circulation figures. You'll find it on the Guardian/Observer website for 13 May. He points out what the Audit Bureau of Circulations' splitting of weekday sales from Saturday sales has revealed - namely that Saturday is a much stronger sales day for papers than Monday to Friday. This won't surprise anyone. You could have deduced it from what gets ploughed into most newspaper products. It's mostly about research catching up with reality. But now it's legitimised and acknowledged, doesn't it feel inevitable that printed papers will start to disappear in the week? You can't fight lifestyle changes forever, especially not when media buyers have got data to beat you up with.
Thing Number Two: the editor of Technology Review has written an interesting mea culpa for magazine publishers, explaining how he, and many of his colleagues and competitors, were seduced by the promise of iPad apps, how they spent fortunes retooling their businesses, supplying multiple formats to multiple sources and seeing very little return on their investment. It's a tremendous story of hubris, ambition and disappointment. But the big lesson at the end of it - never bet against the web. Technology Review, like so many other magazine titles, is now giving up on fancy custom apps and is redesigning its content for HTML5. So you will be able to read it on your iPad, or whatever you fancy, but it's basically a website. An open, flexible, user-oriented website.
Thing Number Three: let's start Thing Number Three with the lesson that people are lazy and social media is work. Well, maybe that's too harsh - some people are lazy and some have different priorities. These profundities struck me after reading a piece on BuzzFeed about an app called Status Shuffle. What does it do? It offers you a bunch of pre-written Facebook status updates you can use for your own account. You just select the one you think will make your life look plausibly fabulous, click the buttons and impress the hell out of your friends. There are so many people on Facebook that the odds are no-one will ever cotton on. The founder, rather splendidly, describes it as "Hallmark for statuses". This should give us all hope - not everyone out there wants to create their own content, they still need us. I think now I'm going to look for an app that can tie all these themes together for me.
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk
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