Saturday, February 28, 2009

Magazines that use Twitter

My old friend/bandmate/colleague/student Matt Swaine, now editing the very fine Trail magazine and its companion website Live For The Outdoors, has inspired an experiment is seeing how magazines use Twitter.

After starting to follow Trail, I decided to see who else was out there. To avoid my personal Twitter account from getting clogged up with who-knows-what I signed up for a new account and I am proud to announce Magtweet as the Web2.0 companion to magblog.

The idea is not to participate but to have a constant stream of tweets from magazines purely to observe how they are using the service, what kinds of messages come up and what sorts of stratagems can be hypothesised.

I intend to follow as many magazines as I can find and I have already signed up for 45 - just the tip of the iceberg, as even a very simple search threw up 800-odd.

However, I can tell you a few things already:

1) All kinds of magazines use Twitter – large commercial consumer titles, tiny hobby titles, business mags, regional mags.

2) Small magazines may have a high number of followers and their tweets may be highly personalised within the community (or it may just be a small number of activer tweeters talking to one another).

3) Canadian titles are very well represented in the upper reaches of the search list.

4) I have not yet found a title with more than 1,800 followers (though I have not been looking for very long).

5) It seems to be etiquette for a magazine to follow you back and also to send you a direct message that usually links to their website.

That's it for now. If you want to see what's going on, look for Magtweet on Twitter.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Cardiff Journalism Alumnus Edits Triathlon Launch

A big Cardiff School of Journalism congratulations to magazine alumnus Matt Brett (1995-1996) who has been put in charge of Future's latest launch, Triathlon Plus - as reported in MediaGuardian.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Phones have a way to go before matching paper's touch and feel

I have previously commented on the (possible) connection between the look and feel of touch screen phones and their ability to provide a substitute for - or alternative to - the look and feel of paper, especially where magazines are concerned.

Now a survey by has confirmed that not just any old touch screen will do. The iPhone and LG's KC910 are the only two models that achieve high ratings. Charles Arthur summarises the findings well in today's Guardian Technology section.

What does this mean for the mobile magazine? I guess that until other phones achieve the same usability as the iPhone and the KC910 that take up will be limited, and that of those two the iPhone must be hands down winner not only because it has sold so well but because it has a direct link to iTunes and the AppStore, which between them provide an easy route to market for both producers (not just of magazines, of course) and consumers.

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All you need is Love (magazine)

A lot has been written about Conde Nast's new fashion bible Love already, but Media Week's reviewer does a nice job in this piece.

See also Guardian; Independent; Glamour; Purple Glamour; etc, etc

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Niche magazines for niche people

Well, that showed me!

Not only did the Editor of Buck have the courtesy to get in touch and very politely correct the version of his magazine publishing history in my previous post, he also left a friendly comment about Eat Soup, to which the Launch Editor of that mag has replied.

This has led me to three interesting places:

1) Although the reporting of Steve Doyle's CV was factually correct, the order it was presented in influenced the way that information was perceived (note the deliberate use of passive voice to avoid personal blame). This is an important ethical and practical point for all journalists: you can be right and still make it sound wrong. (And I apologise for repeating "facts" without having checked them.)

2) As I spend my working life encouraging people to make magazines and delight in the making of magazines, I should be far more encouraging about start-ups and niche publications in this blog. After all, I have been there myself, and this article in yesterday's Independent Media section demonstrates that well targeted magazines continue to attract readers in sufficient quantities to make them sustainable for the people who create them.

[This leads on to a sub-discussion of what constitutes "success" but I suspect that's a topic for another post.]

3) Perhaps there really is a niche for style + food-writing. In which case perhaps there is a niche for a course in style + food-writing ... or at the very least, a specialised module ...

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