Attitude on iPad
Attitude Magazine has been uppermost in my mind today.
This is partly due to how I became aware of the recently released iPad version of the magazine – a testament to the power of social networks. A media acquaintance drew my attention to the magazine’s new issue which this month concentrated on “the issues” for gay men. A quick scan of the comments underneath his posting about the fact that Attitude magazine would be mentioned on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme drew my attention not only to the fact that my acquaintance was Facebook friends with the magazine’s editor Matthew Todd but also two three other friends were too. Suddenly my heart was pounding. I started recalling a never-ending nightmare.
A few months ago, I wrote a fairly personal post on this blog. It’s my blog, obviously. It’s going to be personal. It’s going to be driven by my own personal feelings. Those personal feelings will – inevitably – permeate into what might be loosely described (and usually dismissed) as meaningless, pointless drivel. But this particular post dared to push the envelope a little bit further, even for me. It kind of criticised Attitude magazine and it’s decision to include cheeky chappy weatherman Tomascz Schafernaker posing in a pair of Aussie Bums.
I got a little up myself – borderline judgmental. I whined about how I didn’t want to be reminded about how I hadn’t got the body beautiful Schafernaker sported on the back-cover of the magazine. I complained about the coverage of rugby player Gareth Thomas, deriding the photo shoot which accompanied the copy, dismissing it as pandering to the lowest-common denominator and insodoing guaranteeing a revenue stream for the publishers.
I didn’t put it quite so succinctly as that at the time. I was considerably more verbose. So verbose in fact that only the other day, someone commented on that post that I might want to consider “getting a life”.
As it is, that particular post does still haunt. It is the only blog post which consistently does well every single day. Even when I pulled the pictures of Tomascz Schafernaker from the post, the statistics still showed that it seemed rather popular on the internet. Who was searching for it? Who ON EARTH wanted to read what I thought about his appearance in the magazine? Who really cared? My opinion counted for little. Such high statistics – ridiculous, in fact – caused me to doubt the authenticity of those blog visits. I’ve pulled it a few times, most recently on Sunday. It’s a pain in the arse. I was just being honest about my own reaction to something which happened around me and since then its performance has outstripped anything.
Whilst I’m not suggesting for a moment that Attitude Magazine might be behind anything approaching spamming of blog posts, the truth is that I’ve often felt like I’ve burnt my bridges. In the journalism world burning bridges is a big no-no. People shouldn’t do it if they know what’s good for them. They’ll suffer for it in the years to come. And, in their darkest hour they’ll only succeed in ensuring that a massive heavy door is closed off just when they need the bugger to be unlocked and fully open.
So, having laid all of that bare, I feel considerably more comfortable about providing a comment on Attitude’s big launch with the internet version of the magazine.
The app itself takes a bit of time to load on my iPad. It’s crashed on two separate occasions. Creating a login for the subscription service also resulted in the app crashing as well. Was I deterred ? No. Possibly because I’m a magazines-on-an-iPad are the way forward kind of bloke. I don’t want to carry multiple magazines in my bag. I want all my reading material in one central location. I’m a convert. People tease me about this at work. I’m used to it now.
The resulting user-demands are considerable however. If I’m going to subscribe or pay for a download, the layout has to be cracking. The copy has to be engaging. I want to feel like I’m being challenged. Provoke me. Make me want to argue the toss. Make me turn the page.
The app does – pretty much – make me want to do all of these things, even if the page-turning animation makes me feel a bit frustrated. I just want to slide. And I certainly don’t want to watch each page flip by when I’ve nominated a specific thing to go to. There’s no need. Truly.
But the big thing for me is this. And I’m happy to say this online.
I want something to hook into every day which makes me feel part of a clan. I want something which flags up gay issues via some punchy writing and good, balanced journalism. I don’t want to have to scroll past naked chests although I appreciate that some others might. I make no judgment about them nor about those who feel it needs to be included. And, with that in mind – and given that I would like to feel comfortable scrolling past pages whilst reading my copy of the mag on my iPad – it would be really handy if the page thumbnails weren’t quite so blurry. Whilst I don’t have any issues about my sexuality nor about what others think of me, I don’t necessarily want to draw attention to what I’m reading on the train on my way home. Reading is a personal thing.