Reading on of those portable offline news sites for the first time in ages. They maybe the future…—
JamieLeonard (@JamieASLeonard) August 24, 2012
That was my snarky way of saying I was reading a newspaper for the first time in a long time.
That’s not out of choice. I’m not one of these digital hippies that have renounced ever picking up a printed publication again, it’s mainly due to the fact that I work from home and never get on a train in time to pick up a Metro. On the weekends, I’ll pick-up a paper when nipping out to pick-up breakfast, but then the wife’s all over it and by the time I get to read it, our daughter has decided it’s best use is to be ripped a part and smeared with food. I must say, I did enjoy reading a newspaper this morning. There was the Prince Harry “scandal”. I use scandal in inverted commas not because I’m a twat, but because he’s a young lad in Las Vegas. If that’s the worst he did, he got away lightly. That town has chewed me up and spat me out on more than one occasion. I read a good piece on Arsenals new signings. All in all, a nice way to start the day.
However, my biggest frustration was my inability to share. You see, social media has made us very keen to share, and share quickly. I don’t know the psychology behind it and I’m sure there’s a book somewhere on it, but after reading each article, my first reaction was an amazing desire to want to share it, and then an immediate frustration when I couldn’t at the click of a button, and then a sadness when I realised I’d probably never bother finding that article online and sharing it then with my network. Strange feelings all round. On one hand, it’s leaving me not wanting to buy a paper again, for just that reason. On the other hand, newspapers are missing huge viral potential for offline readers to share content.
So why are they not using QR codes, or a small equivalent, to let people share articles through their mobiles? It would seem pretty straight forward to me. Have a postage stamp size QR code next to your main articles, have them link to the share options of the articles online. For that matter, they could also use the QR code to Read Later or an equivalent as well. I’m not a tech guy, but this would seem pretty simple even to me.
I guess my questioning runs parallel to the consensus that newspaper companies still struggle to grasp the link between print and online and what the real benefits could be.