A cultural shift...

by michele 10. April 2013 10:39

Where will we end up?

About 8 months ago there was a distinct shift in my business. I feared it was the effect of the internet on the magazine business. In years pervious I had seen other shifts such as “I saw it on the web, do you have a copy?”The next shift was when they stopped asking that question. Another, has been niche titles using a different business model to get their magazine on the newsstand. Then there was the media blowing things out of proportion with “the death of print” stories. We have also seen the rise and and slow descent in certain categories depending on what's happening in the world. For example, after 911 our house and decorating section took off as people cocooned.

Back in September I felt isolated and I have to admit fear crept in. I began to emerge from my shell when I started asking people in other businesses how things were going. What I heard was they too saw a shift. I have been comforted in learning that it was not magazines alone that have been affected. Just last week I read in Road and Track that the greatest impact of 16 year olds having their drivers license (46% in 1978, 31% in 2008) was the internet. The rites of passage to independence use to include getting a car now it's owning a phone that connects you to everything 24hours a day. Today in New York magazine there was an article stating that fewer people are viewing art “in its natural habitat.”

It doesn't matter what the business or service is we are all being affected by the internet. We are in the middle of a cultural shift and it is taking on momentum. For me it is a lament for the loss of adventure, anticipation, and at times, quality. Everything is so immediate, that time is not taken to work toward, look forward to , wait longingly for something one might desire. Now, it is I want it, I have it , what's next. Will we savour things, treasure a stolen moment, or enjoy the adventure of the journey?

I have joked that the digital natives will one day not have their eyes peeled to their phones, will discover they are in front of the store and decide to step in. There they will find something totally new. They will tell their friends “Check this new thing out, you can flip the pages, it feels really good, hey, it even smells neat, it doesn't blink or flash, I can come back to it over and over again. I like magazines. ”

I am hopeful. After my 15 year old plays x-box with his buddy in a different town, he still enjoys his book later in the evening.

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About the author

I was born in Yarmouth and grew up in Chester. I have lived on a sailboat, travelled to Zimbabwe, and lived in England where I worked in a fabulous country house hotel. While in England I met Stephen and then brought him home to Nova Scotia. Now I am a wife, mother of two great kids, and a businesswoman. Life is good.