The Printed Blog and the Difference Between Exploration and Consumption

By Deane Barker on June 22, 2009

The Printed Blog: I met this guy – Joshua Karp – in Chicago.  He has an interesting concept:

The Printed Blog is the world’s first daily newspaper comprised entirely of blogs and other user generated content.

What they do is get permission of blog owners, then reprint their posts in a glossy print publication which they hand out at train stations in major metros. So, it’s like blogging, but in reverse – what started on the Web, is now in print.

He was handing out copies at the conference, and it was very well-done.  Glossy, large-format, very high-end.  Great photography as well.

I talked to Joshua about the potential for Kindles and iPhones and laptops to compete with him for the commuter’s attention span.  He made a really great point; he said:

The Web is about exploration. Print is about consumption.

That’s fairly profound, and it echos what I’ve said before.  Consider this post from a couple years ago about reading print publications on the Net with one of those zooming readers:

[…] it’s tough to keep your attention on Web content, because the Web is ever-changing and it’s so easy to get distracted. Hyperlinks beckon you on to more content and you know that different…stuff, is just a bookmark click away.

What I found when reading content designed for print, was that I spent more time reading it. I would actually read an entire article, rather than just skim it, and I could actually be semi-contemplative about something, instead of rushing to finish so I could move onto the next thing. There was an unmistakable sense of peace about the entire process that I’ve just never gotten from Web content.

I still feel this way.  My Kindle is easier to read things on that the Web.  Paper is easier still.  It tends to shut off the explorer in you, and unleash the consumer.  This guy may have a point.

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