Lessons from what happens when you see your name in a magazine

Khoi Vinh, web designer extraordinaire and design director of NYTimes.com admits, “there’s nothing quite like seeing your name in print.”

“Take magazines, for example. In this digital age, their strange, delayed distribution often makes them feel like time capsules from a world that’s perpetually six to eight weeks behind our own. And yet, when one’s name appears in one… then it’s a thrilling moment, there’s no doubt.”

Granted, that’s a rather back-handed slap of an observation, but Khoi’s visceral response to seeing his name in print highlights the various ways in which one interacts with different media. I hope this year to write much more about how our understanding of print and digital media is often clouded when viewed as a battle in which digital media is going to “kill” print. The need to have print and digital as opponents in a zero-sum-game leads media, marketing and technology pundits and practitioners to miss some significant points — and opportunities — related to what’s taking place.

It should be rather obvious to anyone who reads this blog that I’m kool-aid drunk on all forms of digital media — I’m just not so drunk as to dismiss the power of seeing ones name — or brand — in print.

To be continued…

  • Good post, Rex, though I wonder how much of the “thrill” is due to being surprised. Online, I think people do a fair amount of “self googling.” I’m always surprised how many people seem to be searching for themselves inside digital editions via the search engines. In print, we don’t have the ability to search, so it is a different reaction than a Google result. (Not better or worse, IMO, just different.

  • Rex Hammock

    What is this thing you’re talking about, “self googling?” ; )

  • Let me just pipe and offer that I agree that we’re ill served by looking at print v. digital as a zero-sum game. Each is so much more powerful when complemented by the other… I think it’s a case where — in many but not all respects — it’s possible we can have our cake and eat it too.