Like many people in northern New England, I was caught in a time machine last month.
It began with a pelting, steady downpour at about 32 degrees. The rain crystallized, turning trees into glistening chandeliers that sagged and snapped and knocked out power lines. Goodbye electricity; hello 19th century.
For a couple of days, it was back to hauling water (from buckets positioned to catch runoff from the roof), loading woodstoves, carrying candles from room to room. No television, no Internet, no music beyond what could be created with an acoustic instrument or the human voice. It wasn’t so bad.
Then, just as we were settling into pioneer life, someone somewhere connected some wires and threw a switch and we were catapulted back to 2008. Lights and laptops. Leno and Lil Wayne. Hours later, here at Colby, I was staring into 2009 and beyond. Talk about whiplash.
I say this having just come from a meeting where the communications staff was talking about what you really want to read in Colby. And how you’ll be doing it in the future.
What sort of stories are you most likely to read in Colby online or in print? How should the content of the two differ? Will you check out Colby online on your laptop or your PDA? When it comes to stories, how long is too long? How short is too short? Should we be offering stories and information more precisely tailored to the different formats that are growing in popularity? Should the online magazine mirror print or complement it?
Of course, we aren’t alone. Newspapers are struggling to keep up with changing technology—and some are losing. Magazines are trying to sort it all out, balancing print and online editions and features, trying to predict where the technology tornado will drop us next.
In coming months we’ll be asking you to consider these questions, too. Colby is your magazine just as Colby is—or perhaps soon will be—your college. We want and need you to help us chart our course for the future. It’s coming faster than we think, despite the occasional (at least in these parts) detour into the past.
Gerry Boyle ’78, P’06