Friday, December 13, 2013

taking stock

LA Times piece on the trend for online-only publications* to rediscover print-and-paper formats

compare with

Alexis C. Madrigal's "2013: the Year 'the Stream' Crested" which among many interesting points, makes use of Robin Sloan's idea of "flow" versus "stock" -- 

"Flow is the feed. It’s the posts and the tweets. It’s the stream of daily and sub-daily updates that remind people that you exist. 

Stock is the durable stuff. It’s the content you produce that’s as interesting in two months (or two years) as it is today. It’s what people discover via search. It’s what spreads slowly but surely, building fans over time."

-- to wonder what happens when the balance between flow and stock gets crazily out of wack, both in the culture and in any given individual's life (as content-producer and as content-consumer) 

Reversion to analogue formats (and, it's hoped, their modes of reading, their temporality) is an extreme strategy to reestablish "stock" and with it the idea not just of the long read but of cultural longevity....

* As it happens, in the debut issue of the Pitchfork Review - one of the digital-goes-analogue publications  discussed in Matt Pearce's LA Times piece - I have the lead essay "Worth Their Wait":  part misty-eyed reminiscence about the UK music weeklies I grew up on,  part a sober analysis of the difference between loyally reading a solid-form magazine that came out at regular intervals (i.e. then) and navigating the omnidirectional, "always-on" info-and-opinion bombardment (i.e. now)

However as it's only available in ink-and-paper form, and comes out tomorrow, you'll have to wait if you want to read it. And you'll have to go somewhere, most likely, to get a copy. Like that little feller in the illustration, which (I think) is supposed to be me hastening down to W.H. Smiths on a Wednesday. Sweet, although it looks more like Paris than Berkhamsted High Street.


1 comment:

  1. Not surprising at all. Print has it's value as something "durable" if you will. The myth of "if it's posted on the internet, it's there forever" was true for the "old internet/web", the more static one, the time when broadband for the masses was non-existant. Back in the day, internet ment text, picutres. With the emregency of broadband for the masses, and as latest development the proliferationj of "always online" smartphones, the internet became a "stream" of movies and music. I work as an archivist and I can tell you from my daily work experience, the internet today has become a medium of ephemerality. If you search for information regarding things that happened only a few years ago, news, articles and so on get taken off servers etc. and if the original article still is there, most if not all links that likely came with it, are dead by now. That's why "old fashioned" print magazines today might have more value than ever regarding durability of the information/data they contain. But then, there's a bigger question there: does the udience/reader still want "durable" information?