Syntagma Digital
Editor, John Evans

It’s Web Network Magazine Time, Folks

[Health Warning] At the risk of causing serious heart flutters among the febrile souls who have been writing furiously about our “desertion” of the blog network space, I’m going to key-in a few words about Web Network Magazines.

Syntagma is now developing slowly into a slightly different entity, aiming at a slightly different, but still online, readership. Change is not lightning fast because there’s just one owner and two helpers on the office side.

The date set for a first beta version of the magazine is our one-year anniversary, October 21, although you’ll see changes progressively until then.

I don’t know why bloggers are fretting over the dropping of the word “blog”. Many new blog-supporting websites and networks have been doing the same for a few years now. MSN Spaces was conceived without using the word. MySpace doesn’t exactly make a feature of its blog connections, either.

So let’s just get away from that word and start looking at the space inclusively, rather than in an elitist blogospheric context. Heather Green has got an interesting post today over at BusinessWeek’s Blogspotting. Heather writes :

My relatives use the Internet. They’re I think the perfect example of mass market use of the Internet. They send out email chains and check all the popular traditional news sites. They probably visit blogs, but don’t know the difference between them and the other sites they go to. … blog software probably needs to get simpler and more readily available for them to get that part of it.

But then I thought, do they need to blog? … So even as I am confronted with the growth of these technologies, I still think that they are too techie. People can adapt overtime, but why should they? The software should adapt to them.

Here we have the crux of it : a vast army of internet users who don’t know what a blog is, or why it should even exist. Yet, they are customers who shop on the internet, and google up information for a variety of needs.

If you label your product a “blog” network, most new arrivals on your site won’t know what you’re talking about. Ergo, best give them a description they can readily understand.

So why not “magazine”?

6 Responses to “It’s Web Network Magazine Time, Folks”

  1. Couldn’t agree more, and the print ‘ magazine’ market is growing like topsy ( over 30,000 titles in the UK alone!) so why not the online version?

  2. It sure is, Steve, but it is an expensive business to get into. Online magazines are much more accessible, so why not use the facilities in place to aim at the same marketplace?

  3. Absolutely, and I’m not suggesting you turn Syntagma into a print mag, but as you say it is the same marketplace, it really is!

  4. I agree, Steve. But there a few people in the blogosphere who believe that some high-profile networks like TechCrunch should break out into print as well. I’ve argued against this because, despite being big fish in the blog network space, they would be the merest minnows in the print magazine business and quickly swallowed up by the conglomerates.

    Online publishing is perfectly respectable and effective provided you give your readers what they want in an easily-assimilable package. It’s not rocket science.

  5. Which is why most print mags have online versions, as do daily newspapers, which is getting back to your point mentioned in an earlier piece.

  6. HART, our brand is now “Syntagma”, which is a “web network magazine” — some distinction between it and a print magazine is still necessary for the reasons you give.

    We attract the elderly through our Golden Agers site and one or two others, including nostalgia sites like Rhythms and Riffs and AutoExotica. Baby boomers come to our Fifty-Something Women, Beauty on a Budget etc. etc. I won’t list them all.

    It is a different experience still and we try to take advantage of that, rather than making a song and dance about it.

    Creating an online-only, native magazine industry is a great opportunity. If you’ve got a blog network, you’re part of the way there already.

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