Sunday, September 06, 2020

The future of stuff

Crystal Ball Bugsie (9/52)
A perennial topic where I work is what the future of magazine publishing will look like. There is the shift to digital and the move from newsagents to supermarkets for paper mag sales. Readers consume their content in many different forms and in a wide variety of places. 

When I started with BRM, we had 12 magazines a year to produce. And the hordes on RMweb to wrangle. 

Then along came a DVD which has evolved into BRM TV. We upped magazine production to 13 per annum. A few years later, a free weekly newsletter. Then the World of Railways website. Next (for me) Garden Rail. We publish on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. More recently, we ran our first virtual show with another in a few months time. And there is more new stuff to come. 

Once upon a time, a model railway magazine team could sit back and rely on a monthly letters page to communicate with readers. We now find ourselves working with e-mail, Facebook messenger, Twitter and of course, RMweb. 

The users of each tend to be very loyal to their chosen platforms - I keep talking with potential contributors via Facebook and having to direct them to e-mail as the photos they are sending me need to be large for publication, not shrunk by the Zuckerberg machine. Oh, and don't think office hours will do - there are plenty who will message over the weekend and complain when a reply isn't instant!

Add in the joys of Covid, and my job is evolving at a rate of knots. We've lots of exciting ideas floating around and the one common theme is that for the moment, the workload is only going to increase. And I want to grab all the opportunities to get involved with everything. 

Sadly, something has got to give, and that is going to be this blog.

Much as I love my blog, and am really proud of it, the pressure of producing enough material for a post a day is going to be too great over the next few months. 

This doesn't mean no blog - that's too big a step to take - it just means that I'm not going to have time for my own projects for a while. 

I do have a major project starting tomorrow and that will generate plenty of posts, at least initially. Although some of this will be magazine fodder, this forms only a small part of the job. The rest appears on here. 

I'm not sure when the gaps will appear, and it's going to hurt the first time one does, but I need to do this. If anyone fancies helping out with the odd guest post, please let me know. For the moment, I'm sticking this out there so that when there is a post-free day or two, regular readers won't think I've fallen down a hole somewhere. Just hang around and another post will be along eventually.

The one thing I know about the future is that it will be different from today. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?*

*Actually, on here I do, but that's another story.


Michael said...

Best of luck for the next few months Phil! Take as many breaks as you need to, blogging is hard work. I used to blog quite regularly, then a child arrived and I haven't written a single blog since! Just not enough hours in the day, or enough fuel in the mental-energy tank.

Daniel said...

You’ll be sadly missed as my daily read,
but I’ll keep checking every day for that one post that will Just popped up.

Keep up the good work I think I’ve read most of the work in both magazines other than the boating ones

Thanks Dan

James H said...

If I can help you know where I am!

Chris Ford said...

I'm amazed that you've kept the daily posting up this far. Life...

Apple Tree said...

No modelling blog to give me a few minutes respite from the usual dire news ? Not sure how I am going to cope in the mornings ! However, I fully understand and wish you well.

Anonymous said...

Oh no First Chris and then you
You aactually should take a rest from the blog with all the work you do
I take it the new show is a new layout.
Beieing in lockdown I find it harder to get into newsagents and my regular Grocers does not stok the Magazine I take regularly and you cant look at the newsagents now so I am forced on line and I have decided I dont like reading on line so my magazine consumption has dropped though luckily societys still publish
Richard Preece

Paul B. said...

A post a day is quite an achievement, I really don't know how you do it and keep the content interesting. Writing even a short post takes time, and no small amount of organisation, so your decision is perfectly understandable given the circumstances. The reason that I tune in every day is that yours is varied, its not just toy trains but odd kits (Roadrunner trains and Xmas tanks), boats, random thoughts, and anything else that crosses your path. Long may it continue, even if you go down to one post a week/month.

Don't like the new blogger interface by the way, change for the sake of change.

Duncan Young said...

Good luck with it and don't run yourself into the ground. I'll miss that daily read!

Geoff said...


I really don't know how you have managed to keep it up for so long. Since the start of lockdown I have published at least one item a day on the W&LLR Members & Supporters Facebook page. Just finding the material for that has been tough enough.

Be kind to yourself and take a step or two back.


Phil Parker said...

Thanks for all the nice comments - Don't worry too much, there WILL be more posts! There will also be other Phil stuff, I just need to take the pressure off a bit so I can grab a few new opportunities.

Paul B - no, I'm not a fan of the new Blogger interface. I notice that it keeps changing too, so we aren't alone.

Christopher said...

Phil, I agree with everyone else that it has been an incredible achievement to keep up with a blog post a day despite the increasing demands on your precious time, and I thank you for that. (Like others have said, it is hard enough to come up with a posting once a month. Yes, the jury is still out on the new interface...) I will miss the [week]daily read, but you understandably have other priorities. Please don't burn out, especially in these mad times.

Andrew Wood said...

As others have said I will miss the wide range of subjects covered. It seemed a very good mix of mostly railway modelling with some interesting diversions to other modelling and the history of model railways. I also liked the way it was normally published early each day giving me something to read with my first coffee of the day. Will be sorry to see it change but understand the reasons.