Vanity Will Keep Print Media Alive

As Al Pacino stated so eloquently in The Devil’s Advocate, “vanity is definitely my favorite sin.”  Even those of us who believe we’re above vanity, are truly vane at heart.  We often hear about people having their “5 minutes of fame.”  Think back to pre-internet boom…say 1995.  DVD players and DVRs weren’t in everyone’s home and most relied on VHS tape players.  If you were lucky enough to get interviewed on TV by a reporter you certainly got your 5 minutes of fame, but sharing the fame with someone was pretty damn tough.  The advent of the internet certainly made distribution of that video content easier, but you still had to be lucky enough to get interviewed.

Well, today, we’ve got blogs, tweets, and web sites.  Hell we’ve got millions of them.  We’ve got millions of people all trying to be the next great journalist.  They all think, yours truly included, that what they write somehow matters.  The web and the tools (like WordPress) that we have at our finger tips have made publishing and giving people their 5 minutes of fame a hell of a lot easier.

But, here’s the thing, getting quoted in digital print just doesn’t have the same punch, meaning, and impact as being featured/quoted in “traditional” print.  Look I’m an interactive guy, living in a digital world, and I can tell you that getting featured in Wired Magazine means substantially more than being featured on Wired.com.  When we get featured in print, in the real print, we run out of our house and pay for multiple copies of the magazine/newspaper.  Heck, we might even buy every copy the store has.  We save 1 for posterity, we send 1 to our mom, we bring a few into work, and we save the rest.  We’ll scan copies of the article and email them out even though the digital version of the article is available on the publication’s web site.

Why do we do this?  Well, I’ll let the words of Shel Silverstein, as sung by by Dr. Hook And The Medicine Show, in the song The Cover Of “Rolling Stone” answer that question:

“Well we are big rock singers, we’ve got golden fingers
And we’re loved everywhere we go
We sing about beauty and we sing about truth
At ten thousand dollars a show
We take all kind of pills to give us all kind of thrills
But the thrill we’ve never known
Is the thrill that’ll get you when you get your picture
On the cover of the Rolling Stone

{Refrain}
Rolling Stone
Wanna see my picture on the cover
Rolling Stone
Wanna buy five copies for my mother
Rolling Stone
Wanna see my smilin’ face
On the cover of the Rolling Stone

Vanity is definitely my favorite sin and there’s nothing better than seeing your name or face in traditional print. Until we stop wanting to see our names in print, we’ll still need print, and print will continue to play a major role in the fabric of our lives.

  • http://thenumerati.net/ Steve Baker

    Adam, I admit to sharing this vanity with you. And there's certainly enough vanity out there to nourish entire industries. But how can you assume that all humans feel the same way? I know plenty of people who have no interest in fame, and only want to be recognized and admired by people they know.

  • http://www.thekmiecs.com adamkmiec

    Steve

    Interesting perspective. It's 10% of us that vane who will keep pushing it. Perhaps more importantly, the tangible/real nature of printed material still comes across as more credible and impactful to people. When you see something online, can you really trust it? But, hey if it's in the newspaper it must be real. The digital space has a long way to go in getting the type of credibility and trust that the traditional folks have. At least that's my $0.02.

    Adam

  • http://www.thekmiecs.com adamkmiec

    Steve

    Interesting perspective. It's 10% of us that vane who will keep pushing it. Perhaps more importantly, the tangible/real nature of printed material still comes across as more credible and impactful to people. When you see something online, can you really trust it? But, hey if it's in the newspaper it must be real. The digital space has a long way to go in getting the type of credibility and trust that the traditional folks have. At least that's my $0.02.

    Adam

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Digital dad to Cora and John. Love ironing, bourbon and BBQ; no necessarily in that order. Living life, like I stole it. I'm always up for a

spirited conversation. These are my thoughts and ramblings, not those of my employer.
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