In this digital age there is an ongoing controversy concerning the value of maintaining, not to mention extolling, traditional print communication via books, magazines, and newspapers. Reporting generally implies that print is more the format for older adults and digital formats are the information gateway of the younger. My own family seems to mirror this status.
However, as with any technological evolution, or almost any major issue for that matter, the situation is not black-and-white. Moreover, we are witness to the engulfing reality that within digital change itself there is constant evolution; this is appended by the historical cycle of the early adapter, more mass adoption, late acceptors, etc. The process is convoluted and overlapping due to the many forces at play.
With this backdrop, consider the results revealed from a report of a focus group/survey in the June 2015 edition of Toastmaster magazine, about the magazine itself. (Keep in mind that membership in Toastmasters, albeit a worldwide organization, is restricted to those aged 18 or older.)
- Approximately 2/3 of respondents prefer the print version: in part there is lack of awareness of the digital option, but it also favours those who like to share articles through social networks or email; at this stage only about one-quarter of recipients prefer the tablet app
- Those who like the digital version prefer to access content through a laptop or desktop computer; there is concern about storage space required, especially for mobile devices
- Articles and the cover page are the most popular section; the ‘around the globe’ and letters features are the least popular
- The top suggestions for magazine content include tips, advice, and member stories, especially success-oriented ones; these elements are typically included anyway – presumably the survey both reinforces this and is encouraging more
The article concludes with an open invitation to the membership at large to submit comments about likes and dislikes about Toastmaster magazine, a most useful communications forum included at no extra charge with membership in the organization. I’ve observed changes in its look over the years; we’ll see how much evolves inside the covers.