Clean typography and wonderful images on uncluttered pages is possible online. "Sweaty desperation" and intrusive tracking and come-ons are decisions people made or decided to ignore. Thoughtful UX consideration of the whole package in addition to the component pieces / articles also works for products online and IRL.
Everything has trade offs and as time goes on I value the benefits of technology less and less. I believe this has more to do with age than any sort of absolute value judgement.
I should stop at the grocery store on the way home.
For me it's long observation of tech improvements not improving happiness or contentment. More choices, more efficiency—just means more time trying to decide, and that you're expected to do more and context-switch more in less time.
I think there was probably a sweet spot somewhere along the line—or probably a bunch of sweet spots, for separate things—and in many respects we're way past it now.
The Douglas Adam's quote comes to mind
“I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.”
> The total number of teenagers who recently experienced depression increased 59% between 2007 and 2017. The rate of growth was faster for teen girls (66%) than for boys (44%).
So that's some evidence that we really are getting less happy. I would say the biggest change over that time period is smart phones became ubiquitous.
We shouldn't be throwing out tech where it's beneficial. But we should know where to stop.
Using tech and delivery media where it works is up to creators and consumers. Our preferences, biases, and vested interests are in where we choose to invest time and other resources. This isn't proprietary to magazines, platforms or tech.
Pursuing conversations about what do we *want* to do? what *can* we do?
what *should* we do? sheds light on the Where and How.
"Luxury Media" purveyors can choose to be a magazine, app, or ps5 title, or they can choose to be where people will find/read/watch/play with what they're making.
There's technology in stationary too, but it's unsurprising. There are only so many ways of applying pigments and dyes to paper, and if you put serious money into the supplies you top out on practical utility very quickly.
Young people too are more looking for tactile media, smaller shops, smaller communities to chat with even, and so on. Handcrafted content is becoming more popular even within digital media.
The big question is what concepts like luxury and premium really mean. There's an "I know it when I see it," aspect to it, and when it's not real, it seems cheap. While making a living in the early 00's as a vulnerability researcher and pen-tester, I moonlighted as a writer and was part of a clique of fashion writers who had access to events, products, and perks from global luxury brands and haute fashion houses, and what I learned from it is that when people use words like "cool" and "sexy" what they mean is "powerful." The question of what luxury is is whether it signals alignment to power, and not just narrative, but to the only real power that prevails, which is human desire.
Trouble is, what's changed in the last decade or so is that the people who are powerful now are no longer desirable. They have no eros. Politicians are mostly vapid, unattractive celebrities mouthing talking points like actors, and desirable celebrities like actors and musicians are just disposable commodities. Tech has produced a superclass of uncanny and unfuckable weirdos who regular people don't even envy because even for the billions of dollars, nobody wants to be like them. I think a fundamental disconnect between power and desire has emerged, where undesirable people have the reins of power, and all of our media is produced based what somebody thinks someone else -should- want. The result is that our current media is a reflected simulacrum of art that is not the product of a single persons actual belief or love, and it doesn't bear fruit in the form of inspiration to others. The culture changed from admiring and appreciating artists to competing to worship gatekeepers for access to attention, and the media business of mediating art is spectacularly dead.
The only true luxury now is privacy, which is "free to those who can afford it, and very expensive to those who can't," and that's the one thing a mass media business cannot survive in. It's also the one thing that these new undesirable powers can't tolerate, because a place for sharing genuine desire necessarily excludes them. Luxury media now is the ability to access niche views based on your level of competence or education, free from the compromises and hustles of mobs and influencers. It's practically membership in a conspiracy. Maybe that's the play. A conspiracy of craft, maybe.
Sorry, but this is nonsense. There appears to be no shortage of people desiring and willing to fuck the billionaires you call "unfuckable weirdos".
If they have the restraint to not "just toss it online" for the Twitter impressions or the clicks, that's luxury.
But I wonder why this happened. Why aren't the new US presidents like the totally fuckable jfk with his sexy wife?
Did tech do this? Have the geek truly inherited the earth? And we have no idea what we really want?
>> 11. In fact: No. Popups. Ever.
Not quite for me, I do find the little subscription card inserts within magazines very annoying. I have to rip them out and they always tear awfully, bending the spine of magazine.
So I subscribed to the former and would buy the latter whenever I found a copy at a store.
Both were amazing experiences to read; growing up in Indiana I didn’t have much exposure to the international and cultural flavor that they reveled in.
And of course the tactile experience really is dramatically better than anything digital.
I’ve been a subscriber to a number of publications that might be considered luxury media - think the Financial Times, Times Literary Supplement, and New York Review of Books, and more popular (“middlebrow”) titles like the Economist and New Yorker. In almost every case where there wasn’t some utilitarian value proposition, I found myself opening the covers (or apps) less and less over time while still getting unreasonably excited when buying single issues at airport newsstands and such.
I've tried reading a few other publications but find them a chore or a bore to get through.
Life as we know it may turn into Wonderbread.
Larger-format e-book readers (10" or 13" displays) offer an excellent reading experience, including near-paper-sharp text rendering (200--300 dpi). Most devices are monochrome, and even the colour devices that do exist are far from the high-saturation of a four-colour glossy-paper print, but most greyscale imagery translates well, line-art and halftones especially so.
For e-book materials (PDF, ePub, DJVU, etc.) the distractions of animation and rerendering don't exist. E-ink doesn't offer all of paper's affordances and robustness, but it is readable in bright sunlight (unlike emissive displays) and well-designed systems make navigation and annotation effortless. As a web-tablet, the annoyances of the digital world intrude to a much greater extent, and I'm finding myself increasingly less enamoured of the HTML + CSS + JS environment, though it's usually tolerable. The ability to have a large library at one's fingertips and easily slipped into a bag or backpack is its own luxury.
Maybe because too many people are mostly interested in the comments?
I actually have a music fanzine about of my own, focused on 1990s shoegaze . Certainly not 'luxury media' by any means, more of a visual, in-print collage of my writing and research on the subject. A lot of that era never made it into the internet age, and what is documented online is not far away from 404-ing into the great beyond.
The Modern Luxury (house, https://modernluxurymedia.com/Advertise#print)
The Scout Guide (house)
This is in contrast to magazines like The Atlantic, The Economist, etc. where the actual articles are unique and not available elsewhere.
Totally accept that this could just be my bias and not a universal feeling.
Humanity is becoming the real luxury.
But would it, if successful, lead to a repeat of the tv-streaming giants' arms races and declines? Cause right now, to give an example, most Condé Nast and Springer websites are not as obnoxious and unfriendly as Netflix and I wouldn't want to get two or three years of them being better than they are right now if it meant that, in the long run, the entire publisher-run parts of the web went down the toilet. If nothing else, I like Scientific American.
(No affiliation whatsoever)
>INQUE is a beautiful annual literary magazine dedicated to extraordinary new writing. Documenting what is going to be an era-defining decade, it will run no advertising, have no web version, and only ever publish 10 issues.
More like 20–30 someones. Cash is king!
It feels like a majority of what people call podcasts today are just random people talking to each other, often impromptu. It's often by people with no interview skills and no sense for how to produce engaging radio. And, more often than not, it feels like background noise. Sometimes that's enjoyable, but honestly if that's what I'm looking for I'll just listen to Howard Stern, the BBC or NPR.
What I loved about podcasts was that it was a medium which allowed for really great radio drama and storytelling. For the longest time what a podcast was, to me, was Radiolab, This American Life, Serial, The Moth, The Truth, etc.. Something with some real sound design behind it… where someone is trying to create something both engaging and enjoyable to listen to. When podcasts started to blow up after Serial I really hoped that we'd get more of that. But it seems like what we've gotten is a proliferation of random people just… rambling.
This makes me sound pretentious AF but I really do not understand why people listen to some of this stuff. Every now and then I'll listen to something new in the top 20 list and well… I think I'm getting to the "back in my day we walked up hills both way" age now, but man… the majority of today's podcasts are really bad. Like, physically painful to actually listen to. I don't know how and why people do. It feels like garbage tier radio.
Radio is (usually) constrained by the fact that it has to appeal to a broad audience. There are exceptions, but they're rare, and are fighting the medium and its market.
Podcasts ... can be exceedingly niche. Which means that narrow-focus programmes can exist. Peter Adamson's The History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps, now in its second decade (it launched in 2010), and which seems quite likely to extend to three or four, with luck and funding. Truly a life's work. I'm not sure how niche it is with 25 million downloads (though that spread over more than 400 episodes). But it's truly excellent.
There's also increasingly little daylight between radio and podcasts, with many radio programmes (particularly on public broadcasting) now existing in podcast versions.
Yes, there's a lot of dreck, but the, Sturgeon was right about crud prevalence. The key is to look at the best of what's produced, not the worst or average. And for media, formats, and/or platforms in which that best can in fact thrive.
I've somewhat north of 70 podcast subscriptions, some stumbled across, some long-time faves prior to the advent of podcasting, some recommended, some provisionally subscribed to to fit some interest or goal (languages and topics amongst these).
And yes, my sense is that the best podcasts are not of the 2--5 randos just talking back and forth, but tend to be either scripted or structured in some way. The best seem to have either a single narrator, or a small number of interviewed subjects or hosts --- even in long-form discussion, more than 3--4 people seems to end up being unsatisfying other than perhaps as a series of lectures or a Q&A.
If you discover you're listening to crud, stop.
To that end, stuff like interviewing skills, presentation, depth of discussion, is unnecessary and maybe even detrimental. What matters is rawness, authenticity, serendipity and light-heartedness. When you listen to this stuff, you're not deeply engaging with the content.
That being said, I agree with everything else in this article, and I agree that presenting print publications as "for the discerning reader" might be a viable approach.
There is a not a non-zero chance of the plate of brownies destroying human lives in order to get enough impressions to meet a quarterly ad serve goal.