Several years ago I stopped buying print magazines, instead relying on websites for my news, opinion and science. And for a while this worked well for me, I even got a kindle to read books.
Some people say that reading on a screen is just not the same as reading off of a page, and obviously they are right, it’s not the same. But in some ways it was easier, as your ability to find content is vastly increased, and it’s possible to travel with a complete library on any screen you choose.
But there are a couple of downsides to digital reading. The most obvious technical difference is in the quality of the represented text, it’s clearly different, and some don’t find it as easy to read (even through others love the fact you can resize text to suit your eyesight and mood).
But to me there really is only one reason why e-reading is not as good as paper reading, and that single reason is the increasingly annoying and intrusive ad’s.
A few years ago ad’s just sat at the top and bottom of a page, statically looking just the same as the ad’s in a printed newspaper. Then they started to pop-up and required extra work to navigate around.
But then they started to interact with the reader, to try and be “more relevant”, but actually are just like that really annoying kid you went to school with, who would never shut the fuck up.
That kid that would incessantly talk; and talk about absolutely anything, however irrelevent. That kid that as he became a teenager was clearly deranged, and would walk around the streets talking to anyone and anything that just happened to be in his or her line of sight. The one that used to have a regularly blackend eye from speaking crap to the wrong person he just happened to pass.
That person that probably even now is part of some anti-everything conspiracy group trying to tell the world that the moon landings were fake, and his mother was kidnapped by aliens.
Actually I think that kid is now employed by Google. They have co-opted his lifelong skill of being irritating as the new ad presentation technique.
Who ever thought that ad’s that move around across your screen was a good thing?
Why do I need to see a thirty second ad before watching a video segment on a news article, when the ad has absolutely nothing to do with the article I’m trying to read.
And what total utter bastard thought we needed to hear a video auto play as we mistakenly mouse’d over some bold text in a scientific paper? (Yes I means YOU New Scientist magazine online).
I know that online advertising is a multi multi billion dollar business, but honestly does anyone actually read online ad’s or does everyone do what I do, and hunt longingly for the sneakily hidden X on the ad’s while reciting a series of swearwords that used to be just the domain of really humorous Tourette Syndrome sufferers.
My wife gets the paper delivered daily (mainly for the crossword) but I’m finding myself looking at it longingly, and remembering the halcyon days of the internet when advertising was an interactive as the woman who works at the DMV (ie. Not at all).
There is a tipping point online advertizers, one that you are fast approaching when I (and the silent majority) may have to resort to buying magazines again!