Well, you get all excited about a new product launch, send out a newsletter explaining it all, put everything in place to launch…
…and then your entire family gets norovirus.
One week of horror later, we're all well again, and the new Engaged Reading Time starts this week. The new domain name has propagated (and I can't believe it was available), the first issue is already in progress and I'm still feeling positive about the idea — having some paying subscribers helps — and I ran my first Audience Engagement Strategies workshop last Monday, and it went very well. There's something here.
I'm still convinced that making audience engagement part of the heart of our journalism will address many of the issues the industry is facing — maybe not quickly, but certainly in the medium-to-long term. In many ways, this is not a new belief. It's been part of my work since I joined RBI's editorial development team back in 2005.
But all the signs are that this is the time to act on it - and the next issue of this newsletter (a sample of the paid offering) will address that head on.
More of that, after the regularly scheduled "interesting reading" links (and if you've no idea what I'm taking about, check out last issue).
A better you
This article resonated, because I've been trying to live like this since the beginning of the year - and yes, it's made me more productive. Take heed.
A fun collection of nerdy interviews asking people from all walks of life what they use to get the job done, which manages to be both inspiring and reassuring.
We're in a downswing into cynicism, right now, as the optimism of the early internet is replaced with the horrible consequences. But there's still reason to hope - and to build better things.
A little politics
America's public infrastructure is crumbling. Is Britain walking the same path?
This is a clear trend, and has been for some years - possibly since Andrew Sullivan unexpectedly quit blogging after nearly 2 decades. Pioneers encounter the dangers first. We should learn more from them.
This is a fascinating look at how the high-level backlash against Facebook came to be — and how the company reacted. (Today's obligatory Facebook-hate link…)
I've been spending a lot of cycles on video over the last couple of years, and one of the things that the internet has enables is these fascinating short documentaries, that don't need to fit into the standard TV slots, and which can find audiences in a whole range of ways.
Online video from traditional media outlets is still hobbled by being too closely stylistically aligned with traditional TV. (You can even see this in a lot of mobile journalism (mojo) discussions, where they're still essentially producing TV, just on mobile devices.
This particular video is a fascinating look into an alien, yet seductive way of living:
Streaming mutated the download star
Interesting. It turns out that streaming hasn't just given music a new, sustainable business model - it's actually changing music itself.
This, perhaps, shouldn't be a surprise - but it turns out that streaming is shaping the length of songs, just as the vinyl single did back in the day. The form of media affects the media itself.
And just to compound that, it' not just the length that's changing, but the way people write and perform songs.
One from me
My regular piece for Germany's NEXT Conference, questioning the mantra that innovation is good, and asking: do we actually need more disruptive innovation right now? Or do we have enough on our hands dealing with digital as it is?
Reading (paper edition)
I've just finished journalist and nature writer Tom Cox's Help The Witch. It's his first foray into fiction, and it's an intriguing set of short stories that probe the link between the natural and the supernatural. It's a half-way house between nature writing and horror, and all the more unsettling for it. Well worth a read.
The book was funded through and published by Unbound, a publisher that crowd-funds books, thereby testing the market for more unusual works, and allowing interest to trigger publishing. It's a niche patronage model that's producing some fascinating works.
This was Cox's second book funded through the platform. His third blew through its funding target in less than a week. Cox is successfully building up a core audience of shy of 1000 people that will sustain his work. And Unbound enables that.
Have a look around, and see if anything appeals…
Coming up next…
Sometime midweek, you'll get the first, trial issue of the paid version of this newsletter, which will concentrate on analysis and links of the latest news in audience development and engaged journalism. Thereafter, only the paid subscribers will get those (thanks so much to those of you who signed up sight unseen), while the rest of you will continue to receive this more general newsletter approximately weekly.
Have a great week.