Category Archives: 1

Forget Facebook

Two Great Social Utilities


Boasting of more than 175 million users wordwide, it seems as though everybody and their mom has a Facebook account. According Facebook’s Pressroom page, users spend 3 billion minutes each day on the site. Nothing against the social networking giant, but I view Facebook as a glorified high school yearbook. The Wall application in particular is reminiscent of that highly anticipated day when we passed around our books for our friends to sign and prayed that our class photos wouldn’t be too humiliating. Facebook does have its place in the spectrum of social networking sites, and if all you desire is to look at pictures of former friends drinking in Cancun, then Facebook is the space for you. If, however, you’d like to see the your time spent on the web benefit your career, here are two sites that can help you make connections in your industry and establish your personal branding.


          Hailed by the New York Times as one of the fastest growing phenomena on the internet, this social tool helps users stay connected to one another by providing brief answers to the question “what are you doing?”  and is the “modern antidote to information overload.” Twitter is a short messaging system that works in real time to deliver brief status updates. It works through a system in which users follow and are followed by friends, family, colleges, and organizations, who can log-in to receive status updates on their Twitter homepage, or can have updates sent to mobile phones. Twitter puts the user in control of their information intake, for example, users can schedule to have updates turned off Wednesdays at 9pm when they are watching Lost. There has recently been a lot of press paid to Twitter because of the John Mayer and Jennifer Aniston break-up rumoured to be fuelled by his obsession with the site, additionally there is currently a libel lawsuit involving Courtney Love’s tweets about a fashion designer. Co-founder Evan Williams shared with about the unexpected uses of Twitter in a February 2009 lecture. In actuality, Twitter is  best used, not for spreading libellous information or breaking up with famous loved ones, but for connecting with people and organizations whom you are interested in and can help you in your career by sharing industry information.

Benefits of Twitter:

  • Short status updates
  • Connect to industry professionals and companies
  • Develop presence in the industry
  • Share what you know/ events you are involved with


          LinkedIn is a great network of professionals from 170 industries around the world. Currently the rapidly growing site has 37 million members and a new member joins every second of the day. LinkedIn is a social forum in which users can keep in touch with contacts, which is especially beneficial when looking for employment or having job opportunities to share with others. New users create a profile highlighting professional knowledge and experience. Once you create your profile you can invite contacts to join the site and then are connected to their contacts as well; think of it as a window into your colleague’s Rolodex. Here’s a link to a great video further explaining how to use LinkedIn.

Benefits of LinkedIn:

  • Publicizes your professional information
  • Provides opportunities to be introduced to contacts, clients, and collaborators
  • Allows companies, individuals to contact you for business opportunities
  • Allows you to find out about inside job prospects.
  • Allows you to post job opportunities
  • Allows you to ask experts industry-related questions

Share with me! Which social utility do you like best?


The Future of Print

apocalypseAfter four years of university and serious consideration about pursuing a career in law, I decided to follow my love of expression and the written word. I closed my eyes and followed my heart; it lead me to Toronto and I found myself enrolled at Centennial College in the Book and Magazine Publishing Program. I found myself engaged in the learning process for the first time in years. In between discovering the difference between an ARC and a blad, learning the proper use of who versus whom, and being lead into the world of Twitter and blogging (which, I must admit, was previously foreign terrain for me), my class made a lifestyle magazine called On The Danforth for which I was the associate art director, produced two layouts, and wrote two pieces. For the first time in a long time I felt as though I had accomplished something tangible.
When I showed the magazine to my loved ones, those truly significant in my life were very proud of me, requesting copies and even wanting me to sign them. Some people however were quick to conjecture (their expertise in everything except the publishing industry) that magazines and books were dying a slow but sure death. Let me assure the nay-sayers out there who are ready to cry “print is dead,” that this is not the case, far from it.
I am not a publishing expert but as an emerging professional in the industry I am able to look at the changing climate with fresh eyes; what I see is not death but transformation and opportunity. Throughout history, necessity has inspired technological advancement, and technological advancement has necessitated change. Many industries, publishing included, have had to adapt in this time of rapid technological progress. Our ability to succeed, both in print and in other expressive forms, depends on our ability, not to avoid change, but to adapt to it, which explains why I am so confident in the future of the written word. The best among us are even able to use these new inventions to the benefit of the industry; many professionals are using Twitter to network with other professionals and one book publisher is even tweeting their catalogue online.
The publishing industry is a chameleon, always changing to incorporate its surroundings but retaining its basic form–print. When radio became the dominant form of entertainment, books were read over the live wire; in later years books on tape were recorded and book sales were predicted to plummet as a result. They did not, in fact books sales rose to new heights. Now e-books are predicted to devastate the print industry and online magazines are prophesized to decimate print editions. I don’t buy the hype; instead I see these new inventions reaching a new, different audience.
There are people who will buy e-books and embrace online magazines, but a print junkie like me will never purchase an e-book or take to reading mags on the web. Frankly, the internet medium just isn’t as cosy or as portable. When I read a book it is an experience, a night in. Sometimes it involves a blanket, a couch, my cat curled up on my knee, and occasionally candlelight. To have such a night with a laptop perched on my legs is just not the same, and besides, there would be no room for my cat.


Book and magazine lovers are a devoted bunch; the future of print is safe in our hands. While the industry is changing and apocalyptic types are ready to predict its demise, I think the opposite is true; we are growing, changing, and gathering more followers.

Quick Benefits of Print versus Online:

  • Portable: sure a laptop is too but you wouldn’t want to take it to the beach (or the bathroom!)
  • Textual Experience: flipping pages is fun
  • Doesn’t burn the lap as does a laptop, nor does it crash
  • Can include cats
  • Can keep books on a shelf to appear well-read, not so with e-books
  • Bookclubs

What do you think? Will you buy and e-book? Have you already? Or will you stick to print like me? I’d love to hear from you!

Changes to Funding Threatens Small Publications

litOn February 17th, 2009, the Government of Canada through the arm of the Canadian Heritage Fund announced a new funding plan that some say has the potential to devastate Canadian heritage. Small, niche magazines are especially at risk of folding under the new funding criteria that ties its financial support to the reading interests of Canadians and denies federal grants to magazines with circulations of less than 5,000 copies.
The Canada Periodical Fund, or CPF, is an initiative under the Canadian Government, more specifically the Department of Heritage, to provide funding ($30 million) to Canadian periodicals, magazines, and community newspapers. This program replaces the Canada Magazine Fund and the Publications Assistance Program.
Of the programs the CPF is set to replace, the Canada Magazine Fund focused on maintaining high literary quality and editorial content in Canadian publications. It also helped the growth of small magazines through business initiatives. The Publications Assistance Program was a partnership between Canada Post and the Department of Canadian Heritage to offset the mailing costs, which is good for the reader and publisher because it makes subscription costs the same regardless of destination.
The CPF intends to merge the two programs in order to cut running costs and create a single agency, a one-stop shop. According to the official release on the Canadian Heritage website, the CPF is intended to:

  • allocate funding according to the reading choices of Canadians
  • build on efforts of the Canadian Magazine Fund and the Publications Assistance Program
  • re-distribute money to smaller publications
  • reduce paper burden

Although the government says they are keen to re-allocate money to smaller publications, magazines with a circulation of less than 5000 readers are at risk of losing grant money; many smaller publications fear a loss of funding.  The government needs to consider the value small publications bring to the Canadian cultural landscape, while there is not much monetary gain associated with small magazines; they play a significant role in the diversity of our publication industry, without them we are one step closer to becoming an industry producing Canadian copies of American titles.

What do you think of the new funding criteria proposed by the Canadian Heritage Fund? Do you fear for the future of your favourite small publication?