A case against the rag

I’m not the first to make the observation that most tech rags (magazines) are becoming obsolete. But I recently cancelled my subscription to Macworld Magazine. To be honest, I didn’t really cancel. Technically I failed to renew. In my mind I cancelled it. I also cancelled (for real) my subscription to eWeek over a year ago for the same reasons. There simply is no new information. By the time I receive the magazine I have already digested all the news that was in it. Either by that magazine’s own website or from other like-minded websites – many of which are the sources for the writers/editors of the magazines I subscribed to.

I held on to my Macworld subscription for one reason this last year: I was feeling generous. Or maybe I liked looking at pictures of the iPhone while I was waiting for it to become available. It stayed open to some prime pictures, like a Playboy centerfold, only not.

With quality news readers increasingly adorned with more features and power, and now available for free* to anyone for the asking, the situation is only going to get worse.

As I see it, there are two causes for this. One is a secondary effect to the first. The first being the information being available far in advance from the rag going on sale. The second is the fact that the average audience is getting far more intelligent than the same audience 10 or even 5 years ago. This leap in average intelligence is because all this information is available on the web.

Here is an exaggerated yet perfect example. The author of this story is very young, clocking in at about 15 or 16 years old, so he has somewhat of an excuse for this poorly researched article. But sometimes it is easier to use an exaggeration in order to see a point. The crux of his story is this: damn Apple for only offering HD (high definition) rental content through the Apple TV and not through iTunes on your computer. He goes on to say that Apple is money-hungry and wants people to buy an Apple TV in order to view HD content.

If he were to do a little research instead of instantly whining about Apple he would come up with his answer. He found out almost immediately by his commenters. When I first read his article, I thought man, I’m going to have to find those other tech articles explaining why, and then write a comment to his story explaining it to him. Then I read the other comments and everyone else already had it covered. And then it really hit me. How intelligent, or at least tech savvy, the average readers have become. Most of the readers (or at least of the ones that commented) already knew the reason why and told this “Macintosh news info source” a very basic reason why something he was complaining about was happening.

Macuser is a dependent child of Macworld. Most of these guys at Macuser are also editors of one sort or another over at Macworld, or what they refer to as “the mothership.” So this provides me with just another example of why the need for me to keep a Macworld subscription, or any other tech magazine for that matter, just isn’t necessary anymore.

*Of course it’s not really free. They give you software, you let them analyze and use your anonymous and aggregated trends in pie charts to show larger paying companies so that those larger paying companies can tailor their offerings to their specific target audiences.

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