The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Let’s Not Surrender Every Aspect Of Our Lives To Technology …
September 5, 2012, 6:13 am
Filed under: Comment

A while ago I mentioned how I enjoy reading the paper version of books and magazines rather than the electronic alternative.

Sadly, because of the availability of such things in China, I have little option other than to pull out the iPad or Kindle, and that makes me sad, because there’s something I love about the physicality of a book.

I’m the same with DVD’s.

Despite having more computer data storage capacity than America at home, I still prefer having the original [or in China’s case, the ‘inspired by the original’] film or documentary.

I previously thought it was because I liked seeing them on display as it was a permanent visual reference – and reflection – of all I’ve discovered and been touched by over the years, and I still stand by that view, despite the fact there was always a bunch of stuff that I hadn’t got round to enjoying yet.

However I recently came across a letter that appeared in the UK Guardian newspaper that gave another reason why we shouldn’t be so eager to get rid of paper books and I absolutely loved it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to start a Paper vs. E-book debate because that would be as ridiculous as those TV vs. Digital debates, however too many people – especially in adland – like to dismiss ‘old’ simply because it’s old and for me, that’s as misguided as dismissing new, simply because it’s new.

Let’s face it, there are unique and specific advantages and disadvantages to most things in life [and that is definitely the case where books and ebooks are concerned] so any decision should be based – amongst other things – on ‘what helps convey the idea to the audience in the most powerful and meaningful way’ possible … but sadly, I don’t think that is always the case because I’ve met some people who make choices based on whatever is the new, new thing available for use.

And to me, that is one of adlands biggest problems.

We have seemingly become so obsessed with being associated with whatever’s being touted as the ‘next big thing’, that we will happily walk away from any effective platform simply because it’s not the latest thing.

It seems some don’t even care what that latest thing is, they just want to be linked to it because they think it makes them look – or feel – relevant.

Or cool.

Probably cool.

In essence, it appears they have stopped caring about being associated with creativity that infiltrates society and liberates business and just want to be seen as being on the cutting edge of cool.

Now while I wholeheartedly believe we should always be exploring, embracing, creating and pushing possibilities, it should never be at the expense of developing ideas that have real emotional value to an audience – so if you ever meet someone that dismisses a platform simply because ‘it’s old’, kick them in the face because they’re doing our industry as much harm as the accountants.

35 Comments so far
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Only you could link books to the demise of agencies influence.

I prefer reading books in their traditional format as well but if I have to go with a digital option, I prefer the kindle to the ipad.

The letter in the newspaper makes some excellent points but excluding the “visibility, library and 2nd hand shop” points, I don’t know if the reasons are exclusive to the paper variety of book.

That said, the point of your post is a good one. Life is not black and white and yet agencies like to pretend it is. Not because they want to communicate a specific point of view, but because they are so quick to shed the old to embrace the shiniest, newest object in the room.

What once was an attitude of “what works best” seems to have been overtaken by the view of “what gets the most industry hype”. Clients don’t help this situation because they readily embrace “World first” ideas even if they have little connection, appropriateness or success.

I liked this post Rob, I need to think some more about it.

Comment by Pete

What’s a book?

Comment by Billy Whizz

Imagine Hustler but with words, not pictures.

Comment by Rob

I’m surprised Rob. I thought you loved reading books on digital devices because you own so many of the fuckers.

Comment by Billy Whizz

I really enjoyed reading this post and agree with most of what was said. However, I read the headline, and thought perhaps you too had read what I had just read:

Which had made me incredibly sad.

Comment by Ciaran McCabe

Yes, I find that story utterly tragic.

Comment by Rob

One of the problems with the pursuit of the new is that it overlooks the fact that such things percolate through to clients and customers at unpredictable rates. Even tonight I met someone who works for a company that provides distilled tech information to executives under twelve trend headings. To me most of them (though by no means all of them) were oldish news but to others they’re deifnitelly not and we all have to remind ourselves of that.

By way of example – one of the themes was the hot topic that is multiple screen. Now, I went to an event called 2nd screen two years ago and learned a lot, I went back this year and learned some more but my big takeways was hearing too many agency hipsters bemoaning that it wasn’t as good as last year and felt a bit passe. Twats.

Comment by John

The second screen phenomenon is another buzz term that implies new but is really an evolution of old habits.
People have been using multiple devices in unison for decades. Newspaper and television. Radio and books. Naturally there are differences between then and now, but the industries fascination with reinventing history to suit their purposes is as bad as their eagerness to dismiss the old.

Comment by George

Nice point. Bit like my view the principals of social media have been around for centuries, tech has just made it easier to connect on a broader basis.

Comment by Rob

when auntie george is getting his frilly panties in a twist you know shit is happening. what a fucking shame i dont give a fuck because hipsters dont fucking do much that means anyfuckingthing.

Comment by andy@cynic

Best point of the day.

Comment by DH

Rob being sentimental? Who’d of thought.

Comment by DH

As for the paper vs e-book debate, I think there’s a really interesting set of questions to be asked about memories and how we react to the transience of the electronic – whether that’s down to the lack of ownership mentioned by The Guardian or the rapid obsolescence of the devices on which they’re stored.

Comment by John

You may be interested to learn that we are conducting research into how suface texture and brightness effects the brains interpretation and storage of information. There is all the information I can give now other than to say there are indications of different comprehension levels based on the format used. Fascinating stuff with potentially major implications on future education practices.

Comment by Pete

Andy’s going to just love this.

Comment by John

Haha, yes he will. Though when the original research commenced, he was with us and in some ways, he was partly responsible for all of this happening.

Comment by Pete

But you still won’t tell me any of the details will you Pete.

Comment by Bazza

Jesus, we started that 4 years ago, haven’t you got it sorted yet. Besides, the reason we went there has sort of passed – except for the health and education elements and no one was interested in what we had to say then, so I assume little has changed since then.

Comment by Rob

what the fuck has happened to all of you fuckers?

and pete, pull your fucking finger out. youre taking longer than campbell takes to do a full days fucking work.

Comment by andy@cynic

What am I talking about, of course something has changed – Andy and I aren’t there to annoy Mr Education advisor anymore. It’s in the bag then.

Comment by Rob

Yes Robert, that is the point.

Comment by George

I have an irrational foible which involves buying the kindle version of something first – if it’s cheapish – and then buying the physical book (upgrading) if I like what i’m reading.

Comment by Eaon Pritchard (@eaonp)

I am also guilty of this.

Comment by Bazza

Oh you have no idea how guilty I am of this. And the reverse, re-buying all my old stuff in new formats “just in case”.

Comment by Rob

Fantastic post Robert with great, thought provoking points. Emperors new clothes anyone?

Comment by George

Love this Robert.

Comment by Bazza

fuck me, this is depressing the fuck out of me. not the post because thats campbells normal brand of planner wank wank, but how people are having a serious fucking conversation about a fucking kindle. for fucks sake, get a bastard life.

mind you i like the slag off of the advertising hipster fuckers. you know, the ones that think they invented everything. as doddsy wisely says. twats.

Comment by andy@cynic

You truly are the master of the backhanded compliment.

Comment by Rob

On an unrelated note, the Gladwells and Lehrers of the world are the reason why I’m allergic to actually owning stuff. When you write books because a regular column isn’t enough or just to ‘see your name on something physical’, no reason to write is a good enough reason not to buy, at least for me.

I still own books, too many of them, though none of my friends ever borrow them and the ones who do read buy their own. I think libraries could have a good thing going (Manchester one was always busy, so I don’t sneer at it and say ‘who goes there anymore’ – plenty of people, just not enough on the whole).

If you could borrow their books and return them all over the place like amazon has collection points, you’d be onto something. I wish more library people would get together and even try a sort of lovefilm for books. At least to see if it works. Not aware if this exists, but it would help their cause I think.

Comment by Andrea

When you say you’re allergic to owning stuff, what do you mean?

And the book drop off exists in limited places, but it is a nice idea but maybe to help more than simply remind people about the majesty of the printed book.

Comment by Rob

I love the sentiment in what you write. And it is absolutely true. I also love to have a real book or newspaper. Not juts for the haptics but also for the fact that if you read in the bathtub (alright, yeah I do that) or the beach or swimming pool and by mistake drop the thing into water, you only lose a few quid with a book. But quite a pile of it if it’s an iPad (Well, that’s for me not for an insanely rich person like Andy).

Comment by seb

i have a wife, a daughter, 2 fucking parasites exwives, 2 houses, 2 cars and no fucking job. thats not rich, that fucking bankrupcy walking. campbell on the other fucking hand could afford to drop 60 ipads in the fucking bath and not just because he has 61 of the fuckers in his house. probably given to him for fucking free. the bastard.

Comment by andy@cynic

First world problems.

Comment by DH

your first world problem is my fist in your fucking face if you make any more comments like that. at campbell, yes. me. no fucking way. you cheeky shit.

Comment by andy@cynic

Definitly – and I think that another aspect of it is that when it’s the digital format you are missing out on other elements that the author has deliberatly picked – fonts, paper, covers, size and shape – all of which affect how you interact with the book as well.

(Warning, this topic is a bit of a pet hate of mine!):

Plus, the physical presence in the room is helpful when you’re trying to work out what to read next….

Comment by Sarah

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