Digital lives longer than physical

I was interviewed last week. The interview was published in a Finnish paper-printed computer magazine (yes, there still apparently are those, though I have no idea who reads them), but they put an excerpt in their online edition.

Unfortunately, they extracted only the controversial and alarmist parts of the interview, and left out all the sane and calm parts. The reason why this bugs me is that it makes me look stupid, alarmist and like an attention-whore. (Well, if I am one, this is not the way I want to do it.)

Now, I fully understand the need to sell the print edition to fund the online edition and everyones wages. But unfortunately, in the current day and age, what really matters is online. Everyone I know and care about ever is going to read the online version only, and will form their opinions based on that text. Nobody gives a flying monkeys bollocks about the paper edition. Google does not index it, it can never go viral, and it's only seen by the subscriber base and a historian two hundred years in the future. In fact, by next week, most of the copies will be in recycling bins.

But Google and its hard drives remember. Most news and opinions in the IT industry have a useful lifetime of maybe two to five years, well within the average archival capability of online magazines and search engines. Maybe the paper edition will last a hundred years more, but frankly, I don't worry too much about what people will think of me a hundred years from now. I'm way more concerned as to what happens when someone googles me six months from now.

So contrary to the commonly held view: Electronic articles are more durable than paper already. Electronic news media have a bigger impact. In the end, durability of paper really only interests historians.

What of this? Pretty much nothing, really: I'll be a lot more hesitant in the future to give interviews to physical media. My opinion of this particular mag went down, and I'm a lot less likely to recommend them to anyone (though of course with this exception: read the article from the paper version, I sound a lot less like a dribbling idiot in it.) In the end it's just a minor magazine in a minor language on a minor topic and not likely to cause big harm to my online reputation. I'm not really even pissed at them, I just feel kinda sorry that they have to resort to such techniques to keep people buying their paper.

Just needed to rant about this tiny piece of enlightenment I had...

Update: The full article is online at http://www.tietoviikko.fi/taustat/article618081.ece. It's a good one, read that.




Comments

I don't see anything wrong with the story. (Haven't read the paper version tho, it's still waiting on top of the pile.)

--Marjut, 29-Apr-2011


Janne,

Thanks for the feedback. We are sorry that you feel this way about how the article has been published online.

The best way to republish an article from the print edition in the online edition is a common topic of debate in the online news business. Tie-on stories pose an additional challenge due to the limitations of online publishing platforms.

Our usual method is to publish the tie-ons and the main article separately and link them together once the full story is online.

There is always the question, which one should be published first: the tie-on or the main article. In this case, we decided to publish the tie-on first because we believed it would work well as an individual story and that it provided one relevant view to the use of nfc technology.

The main article has now also been published online and linked to the tie-on first published on Friday. The full story of the article can be read in Finnish at http://www.tietoviikko.fi/taustat/article618081.ece

--Aleksi Kolehmainen, 02-May-2011


Thanks for the response. I understand your process, I just don't think that the selection of the tie-in was a particularly good one.

The article is a good one though; I'll link to it from the main page.

--JanneJalkanen, 02-May-2011


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