I’ll just say it outright. I love magazines. The “real” paper ones. I look forward to getting them in the mail. I love the feel of the glossy pages. And the over-the-top even glossier ad pages. I love reading compelling cover lines that sound so simple yet probably took days to perfect. I even love how the ink comes off on my hands when I press too hard on the pages—kinda reminds me of pressing Silly Putty on comic books. This is not to say I don’t enjoy being able to read online articles (especially in a larger font), but the seamless juxtaposition of words and full page pictures still always looks better when it’s not surrounded by banner ads.
I grew up in the magazine world. I spent many wonderful years writing and editing for great publications including Parents and Nick Jr. Family Magazine, and before that, Bazaar and Glamour. The words “hed,” “dek,” “slug,” “slush,” were part of my everyday vocabulary. Then with the click of a mouse, it all changed. Admittedly, today my iPad has a bookshelf full of magazine apps. I read The Skimm and HuffPost daily. My business has become digital in just about every way. I write for clients I never see. Claire, my Sandbox Summit partner, lives 5 states away. Every month I think about how many trees and how much night table space I could be saving. So why do I still keep my paper subscriptions coming? Would I miss complaining about the ever-increasing heft of the September Vogue? Could I give up the free makeup samples I never use in Vanity Fair, the inside scoop on the Kitchenaid mixer in Bon Appétit, and the user-friendly design of Time? Could I live without swooning over you-are-there shots in National Geographic or stop tearing out New Yorker cartoons to post on my corkboard? (Pinterest? Not there yet.) Of course I could. But why should I give up these pleasures? Breaking news is available as quickly as someone can type 140 characters, but for the analysis, the carefully crafted piece with photography, pull-quotes, infographics, and the sheer joy of turning pages, magazines offer an unparallel source of satisfaction.
At Sandbox Summit, we talk about balance. Balancing screen time with real time; high tech with high touch; people and pixels. I think of magazines the same way. I like reading what’s happening more than once a day. I want to stay connected to the news and what’s new. But I need real friends as well as virtual ones. It’s like that old song, “one is silver and the other gold.” Glossy paper is no more a frivolous luxury than a favorite teddy bear or a game of old-fashioned tag. Whether its media or messaging, balance keeps things in perspective. One medium doesn’t diminish the other; it highlights the virtues of each. So for now, I’ll keep renewing my paper magazine subscriptions. But of course, I’ll do it online.
Send your secrets to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I promise I won’t spill.