I don't know the process most editors of monthly magazines use to write their columns, but I will confess that I normally wait until my copy deadline is imminent, and write about what happens to be on my mind at that time. I know what you're thinking: It usually reads that way. Sorry about that. But this month I'm writing about something that's been on my mind for nearly 30-years, or maybe even my whole life.
Talk about staying power. "A Diamond is Forever" debuted in 1948 and outlasted the agency that coined it, N.W. Ayer & Sons - which was acquired by Publicis and absorbed into the holding company in 2002. The slogan, on the other hand, might last forever.
Apple once again proved its ability to single-handedly incite the tech-geek blogosphere just by - well, saying nothing, actually. This time, it was the incessant rumor (still unconfirmed at press time, though very likely indeed) that the behemoth had reached an agreement with Wal-Mart to sell the iPhone at both its eponymous chain of big-box stores as well as at Sam's Club retailers.
Perhaps the eco-movement has lost its dew-speckled, sun-kissed luster for consumers. Or maybe environmental coverage has lumbered into the mainstream, and consumers simply expect it regularly. Or it could be that magazines are entering the new year with a more risk-averse, batten-down-the-hatches mentality.
As magazine publishers flail about wildly, laying off staff, canceling publications and breaking into cold sweats whenever an intern utters the word "Internet," an unlikely sliver of hope may be glimmering across the pond. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and 19-year-old tabloid bait Peaches Geldof recently launched publications in Great Britain that specialize in what they know best.
Diesel, we're not quite sure what you sniff, snort and smoke in your marketing meetings, but we thank our lucky slaughterhouses for whatever heroin-induced vision produced the marketing rock opera sing-along "The Rise and Fall of Pete the Meat Puppet."
If print-on-demand books can transform the media landscape and give voice to authors addressing the literary long tail, sites such as lulu.com will be their platform. On the site, authors can publish and sell their e-books or hard copies. The idea is that everyone can find an audience, even if it's only a handful of people. De rigueur community features let people tag, share and, of course, review. How niche can you go? How about a book of semen recipes?
Californian calculus teacher Tom Farber sees a day when public schools will have corporate sponsors. For now, sponsored math tests will have to do.
One of the many criticisms launched at today's sm"rgasbord of communications options - messages of both the instant and text varieties, email, Twittering, social networking, etc. - is that while their efficiency is all well and good, the processes themselves are rather cold. Whatever happened, critics wonder, to the human touch?
The line between reality and the virtual is getting even fuzzier. Now Wal-Mart, Safeway and other stores are arranging their real-life shelves based on what test subjects do in a virtual store - because for shoppers, it's pretty much the same thing, says Karen Strauss at Meridian Consulting.