We’re great and you know it.

Well hubris aside, that is the title of a pull out box in the Summer 2006 .net Magazine (p 11 for the spotters). This pull out box is on the letters page and highlights the happy comments people have submitted.

Now, the .net redesign is pretty good. The content has improved a bit. There are still mountains of typos and some pretty pointless bits but overall it is good.

However, and this is a big however, by the time someone has got to a quarter height box on page 11 of the magazine, they have probably bought it. What value is there to any one who has bought the magazine to know that “Stormfx” says “Best..net.ever. Absolutely love it. Rock on!” (I blame comic book guy for the new writing style….)

Now, I may be mistaken but in things like magazines the space is important. There is only a limited amount and the main priorities are advertisments (to bring in profits and keep prices down) and content (to make people buy copies and sell more advertisments). It is actually quite easy, the hard part is finding the happy medium.

Why on Earth did anyone sanction this use of space to simply say “I like your new style?” (six times)

What is the purpose of printing this sort of message? Is it to convince the casual browser to buy the magazine (in which case, why 1/4 height box on page 11)? Obviously this implies that the casual browser is not going to be tempted by the actual quality or quantity of the “real content” but is going to be swayed by the raves of total strangers.

Is it to convince people who arent’ happy with the new style that they are in a minority? This happens a lot in corporate communications: Often as a result of disgruntled employees causing problems and inefficient managers bringing in PR companies to convince everyone they are happy. It doesnt work. If people aren’t happy, listen to their problems and try to fix them, or at least explain why you cant/wont fix them. Simply telling everyone they are in a minority does not improve worker morale, and does not improve reader satisfaction. (George Orwell has a LOT to answer for).

One, possibly more likely, reason could simply be that in the typical chain of a company telling each other how well you have done is better than doing something (well or otherwise). This could just be the new editor showing his chain of command what a great thing his changes have been.

Personally I think it stinks and the space would have been much better employed with more letters, even an advert would have been better if they have so much space….

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About Site Admin

Website administrator for the WhyDontYou domain. Have maintained and developled a variety of sites, ranging from simple, plain HTML sites to full blown e-commerce applications. Interested in philosophy, politics and science.

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