Eye candy for “isolated connectivity” » Samir Husni, director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi and a magazine consultant, calls publications like Kinfolk “eye candy magazines.”
“We are seeing a slew of these visually driven kind of publications — they warm your heart and make you feel good,” Husni says. “It’s fluffy, a marshmallow.”
Husni says the omnipresence of digital media is creating a yearning for escape from the unending information tsunami.
“We are bombarded by information, by folks telling us to do this, do that and how to do it,” he says. “We want to relax, grab a glass of wine and a magazine like [Kinfolk] and flip through it. It’s a me-time magazine. You don’t need to think or respond.”
Kinfolk, with its distribution through stores that share its aesthetics, such as Williams-Sonoma and Anthropologie, is a genius magazine approach, Husni says.
The idea, at least, of informal face-to-face gatherings appeals to what Husni calls the “isolated-connectivity generation” that’s digitally interacting with thousands of people through social media — but in reality is physically isolated in front of an electronic screen. “We are so constantly connected to others, yet we want to be by ourselves when we do it,” he says.
By retiring alone to a comfortable chair — or a wooded grove — with a hard copy of Kinfolk and an iPad, the so-called “I-C Gen” can page through the fantasy of face-to-face community, while remaining linked to a digital world.
When discussing the world of magazine publishing, it’s always a good idea to check in with Samir Husni. Known as Mr. Magazine™, Samir A. Husni, Ph.D. is the founder and director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media. He is also Professor and Hederman Lecturer at the School of Journalism. I checked in with Husni regarding Need to Know and he told me:
“I think as print changes from a disposable item to a collectable item more and more people are going to enjoy the ”experience making” of print. Magazines are much more than just content providers. They are experience makers. Unlike digital, you can feel their weight, see their real shape, feel their structure and hold the story from beginning to end in your hands. They were, are and will continue to be the best lap top, tablet ever invented… and the cheapest for that matter.”
Although the print world has not recovered from the 2008 financial meltdown, which was particularly tough on magazines in the shelter category, professor Samir Husni, who tracks new magazine launches at the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi, said, “I don’t think it is a gamble at all; they’ve really tested this.”
My interview with Marc Smirnoff editor of the Oxford American and the response of David DiBenedetto editor of Garden & Gun were the subject of a blog on the Arkansas Times site.
Click here to read the Arkansas Times blog.
Samir Husni has been carrying on a well-publicized love affair for almost half a century. It’s one of his greatest passions, and he has no intention of quitting any time soon. Oddly enough, his wife knows about it and is completely cool with it.