Things I keep learning about magazines (and much more) by blogging

magnet 2010 logo

If you’re attending,
my session is next Wednesday.

Next Wednesday, I’m speaking in Toronto at MagNet, the annual conference jointly produced by a several organizations related to the magazine industry in Canada. (I wonder why such groups in the U.S. can’t coordinate their events like that?)

In a courageous unwitting mysterious inspired move by the organizers, I’ve been given 90 minutes to lead a session on “9 things I’ve learned about magazines by blogging.” The session grew out of a guest column I wrote last year for the industry magazine Publishing Executive and a follow-up interview with the UK marketing industry consultancy and media firm, econsultancy.com.

I’ve been looking forward to this presentation for several months because I think it’s a great honor (and fun) to be able to tell the story of what one learns by diving into a new medium rather than just “studying it.” Especially, since “studying it” typically means, “hoping it will go away.” And as my style of blogging is based on my personal perception of the internet as “a place” and that this blog is a major part of the way I “exist” and participate with others who share that place, I have never been burdened by figuring out what its “business model” is or what my blogging strategy is.

This blog is me. Maintaining it is a major investment of time (however, not near as much as you’d think), but the return on that investment over the past decade can easily justify that time. So I have been a lucky blogger: I had the luxury of several years of blogging without thinking of a blog as a “medium” or that I had to justify its existence in the metrics of a classic business medium. And by the time people in the “real world” discovered I blogged and asked me, “How can you spend time doing that?” I was able to answer with examples of specific opportunities it had created, complete with dollar signs attached.

In preparing for next week, I have scanned through dozens of past magazine-related posts on this blog — as well as re-reading those two items that led to the invitation to speak next week.

And, as with the final episode of Lost, I’ve decided those things I’ve learned over the years are less about specific “answers,” but rather are about the big things: relationships, curiosity, community, collaboration and how much better it is not knowing how it all ends.