If you’re a music and writing nut, you’ve no doubt combed through Jonah Weiner’s Spinning in the Grave article at Slate about the recent ongoing death of music mags. It’s a good, thoughtful article (disclaimer: he used to edit me at Blender), but it’s also incomplete, missing out on some fundamentals of why these magazines are crashing and burning.
Mulling over print-based magazines’ demise has been going on for years now, with some thoughtful pieces popping up recently. Culled as an except from his book Say Everything, Scott Rosenberg’s How Blogs Changed Everything (Salon) talks about how blogs not only reshaped the whole media landscape, but also how they’re akin to phone technology in their reach, influence and social capacity. One point that comes up briefly there, and is worth exploring more is that blogs are part of Web 2.0 media. In other words, instead of the static pages that dotted the early web landscape, they’re interactive with the user.
The whole idea of an interactive web is passe because we’re so immersed in it now, but when you think about it, it’s really a big break from the old model. It’s not just the way that users can participate in it, but the way that it’s constantly updated, even by the second (which you rarely saw in the early days of the web). Print media is closer to the old web model and for that reason, maybe more than any other, it’s dying out now.