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16 ProPrint November 2014
Baden Kirgan says if you didn’t think the use of social media to promote
International Print Day was appropriate then you are missing out big time
International Print Day – did you enjoy it?
ou probably didn’t even k now
International Print Day was on, and
if you did it was probably only as a
result of reading some of the articles on
the ProPrint news site telling you that you
didn’t know it was on.
So what was it all about? A bunch of
print people promoting print and sharing
their k nowledge globally on social media.
If you do not think that is something
worth paying attention to, then you a re
IPD14 grew out of the #PrintChat
community, a group of printers a nd print
enthusiasts on Twitter. Started by Quad
Graphics and since 2012 run by American
Debora h Corn, principal at the Print
Media Centre (w w w.printchat.
print mediacent r.com), #P ri ntChat is a
question and answer session held on
Twitter every Thursday morning
Austra lia n time.
Ever y week Corn a nd chat moderator
Sandy Hubbard run a question and
discussion session on Twitter. Usually the
questions revolve around problems that all
of us in print face a nd ever yone tries to
give real world examples of how they have
addressed them. Anyone following the
#PrintChat hashtag can chime in with
The most recent discussion was about
how you would use your print ex pertise to
grow a new marijuana shop. Sounds
potentially silly and #PrintChat does dress
the issues up with doses of irreverence,
but the first question – “how do you
convince a business already using a cheap
on line print a nd design vendor to switch
to your bricks a nd morta r store?” is a
tough problem we a ll have to deal with.
You can all email me your solutions on
that one, and good customer service or
cheaper prices will not be accepted.
The nu mbers taking pa rt in #PrintChat
are extraordinary and growing – last
week ’s chat generated more than 1200
tweets delivered to almost si x million
timelines. The IPD14 figures are even
more astounding, w ith 1200 par ticipa nts
sending some 8500 tweets to 23 million
When you think about the number of
printing companies in Australia (is it
down to 1500 yet?), those numb ers lo ok
even more impressive.
The Austra lia n contingent is pretty
small – Stepha nie Gaddin from the
interesting Dolphinworx SAAS MIS is the
most prominent voice and from what I can
see she is doing a great job of building her
brand in theUS just bybeing an
interesting contributor. There a re others
clearly paying attention and occasionally
joining in like Alan Dixon, Theo Pettaras
and Inky McFee. And while the non-
daylight savings chats have b een to o ea rly
respectable time @baden kirga n tries not
to miss it.
Itisa lot of fun andyoufind some great
information. When I was looking for a
web-to-print solution I mentioned it in
#Pri ntChat a nd the ow ners of severa l
excellent web platforms I had never heard
of got in touch. O wners mind you, not
sales reps or resellers – in the US the
online print community is taken seriously
by indu stry leaders.
And that is kind of what I enjoy most
about the online print community– there
are some really impressive print people
putting some really great information out
there on social media, people who are
interested in where print is going and are
actively searching out its future online
collaboratively. Things like #PrintChat
and IPD14 attract them and you should be
there with them.
Next month I am going to fill you in on
some of the people in print doing a great
job on social media, both here and abroad,
and try to show you why it is more than
something to do while you a re wa iting
outside a client’s office.
But that’s four #PrintChats away – get
on Twitter and see what I mean.
The invention of the book gave us random
access over the scroll. Early computers
required you to scroll through a book;
today you can page through a book, listen to
it, watch it, interact with it.
The number of 17-year-olds who have not
read a book for pleasure has tripled in the last
decade. The transition from print to digital
has slowed; print book volumes stabilised;
e-book sales are decelerating. For now.
E-book content can also be tex t-to-speech,
like paper that talks to you. Putting video into
e-books is like putting captions in movies. I
thought old-time silent f ilms lost out to
I grew up with radio and early T V. Radio
required you to use your imagination. The T V
Lone Ranger was not as interesting as my
mental picture of him. Reading the printed
word uses that little radio in your head. Audio
books eschew the eye and go right to ear.
Children are switching between media
more effortlessly than their parents. They are
bi-tex tual or even tri-tex tual - print,
interactive and video. Stor ytelling, gaming,
and reading are now interrelated.
We are seeing the decline of text and rise of
the image, static or moving. In 1984 a study
on print’s future predicted that the challenge
would be a screen and memory of some kind.
Screens are available in ever y size from the
eyeglass Google Glass to smartphones,
tablets, laptops, desktops, to wall-sized
flatscreens. You are never far from a screen.
T V will become just another web app. The
cloud is no more than a ser ver farm in West
Virginia connected to the web run by a
chimpanzee on roller skates.
Human memor y will be under-used due to
search engines. Why remember any thing
when you can Google it? Bing it? I may Google
Bing or Bing Google.
There is still a lot of reading
going on, no matter what the
The print book is based on the whims of a
handful of national book buyers. The
e-revolution was about freedom to publish
and the rise of the self-publisher.
A panel of author/publishers revealed they
had multi-million dollar incomes. They say
they make more money with the on-demand
print version of their books than the e-books.
Amazon acquired Goodreads which links
readers and authors. Social media is as much
a promoter of books as signings.
We were told the term digital book was
preferred over e-book. Then you have
e-paper which is really a screen.
The future is something we have not
thought of. But there are clues that reveal
pieces of the future and, if you listened
carefully, this conference had a lot of clues.
Frank thoughts at the Digital Book Conference
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