You don't need to look very hard to see that the technology trade press publishing business has fallen on hard times. Print publication is at its smallest page counts in our lifetime, with paper periodicals often dramatically reduced in size and providing little more than link lists pointing to "full length" articles located at on line web portals or vendor/advertiser sites. Even the on line portals that have replaced print media are increasingly high on "noise" and low on "signal."
The reason is simple. Editors are confronting much reduced budgets for developing content with real probative value. Reduced advertising revenues reflect the reduced interest among vendors in purchasing advertisements that generally fail to yield the desired rates of "click thru." As a consequence, many technology journalism sites publish content that amounts to little more than rehashed vendor press releases. Technology journalism is at a low ebb.
When we read the articles that are published in many trade press pubs and sites, we are often amazed at the technical illiteracy of journalists and editors behind the stories. Many seem to know next to nothing about the subject matter, reiterating vendor marketing messages instead. Again, budgetary constraints are to blame. Editors do not have the money to commission work from knowledgeable writers.
There are exceptions, of course, but they are increasingly rare.
In addition to the demise of old media, we have seen the rise of the so-called "Data Democracy" in the form of social media networks, where virtually anyone can hang out a shingle and claim expertise. Too often, these new media experts lack of any experience or even critical thinking about the subject matter they cover.
Alt-Facts aren't just for politics; Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, Google+and many other web communities are prone to hosting propaganda and disinformation about products, services, and technologies created by vendors either directly or via story mills. Most lack any relevance whatsoever to real world business challenges, instead articulating "visionary" narratives about shiny new thing technologies.
We beat up on the research and analysis firms in an earlier post, noting the increasingly cynical use that some of our clients are making of R&A reports. ("We don't believe them, but we keep the reports filed so we can find an opinion that was paid for by a vendor whose product we have selected. Then we paper clip it to a budget request to show that our decision has analyst backing.") In addition to trend analyses and product rankings, we are finding that the other product of industry analysts - white papers analyzing trends or products or markets - are increasingly worthless. One client recently told us that they "loved it" when a vendor produced an analyst white paper at a meeting, "We don't actually read the papers, we are happy because it says that the meeting is coming to a close and we can get back to real work."
Toigo Partners is doing what we can to fill the void. We publish, sometimes without payment, in many trade press publications. You can find our work in TechTarget's Storage magazine on a monthly basis, and occasionally in Enterprise Technology, Enterprise Tech Management, Disaster Resource Guide, Virtualization and Cloud Review, and SearchStorage. We also provide guest blogs to some of our client web sites, including DataCore Software, Starwind Software and others. The lion's share of our work is on our own sites, which are free information portals where we publish fact-based information about data management, data storage, and IT strategy.
- Our Data Management Institute provides six blogs supporting communities of interest. These mix text and infographics with video interviews and public service announcements featuring our own avatar, Barry M. Ferrite.
- Our DrunkenData.com blog is one of our first ventures and has been publishing on data storage technology and management for over 14 years. It has a loyal readership in the many tens of thousands. Posts are "echoed" out to social media, including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and, coming soon, Google+.
- Our experimental online magazine, IT-SENSE.org, received very good feedback with its first issue in late 2015. We are now strategizing to go quarterly with the site.
- And, shortly, we will be providing newsletters from Toigo Partners and the Data Management Institute that we hope to use to keep our customers and friends more up to date with information they can leverage for IT planning and strategy-building.
See you around the web!