looking for smart ways to refute the following illogical statement:
January 25, 2009 2:29 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for smart ways to refute the following illogical statement: "Newspapers will never die, you can't make a scrap book out of interactive products..."

Lets pretend that scrapbooking is the lifeblood of newspapers. How are interactive products (i'm guessing the person means websites, social networks, blogs, etc.) now used for "scrapbooking"?

or... Deconstruct the original statement any way you think is better. Thanks!
posted by Paleoindian to Computers & Internet (36 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The laws of physics do not demand the existence of scrap books.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:47 PM on January 25, 2009

"That's true, you can't; and yes, they will."
posted by mpls2 at 2:51 PM on January 25, 2009 [2 favorites]

Actually it's pretty easy to make a scrapbook based upon "interactive products". Just make a web page that hyperlinks to the things you want to save (unless the person is hung up on it being a physical book).

And, of course, I'm guessing that the person who put forth this proposition has seriously misjudged the popularity of scrapbooking in the first place.
posted by Flunkie at 2:51 PM on January 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

"People won't know I was there without print media"? "I can't preserve my memories without a hard copy"?

Maybe you need to rephrase your question if those were all wrong? I'm not trying to be mean, I'm just making my best guess.

Anyway, I agree that social networks probably are scrapbooking, but it's much more automated and more people probably do it. Plus, just look at all the merchandise after Obama was elected, merch may be the new print, since the common thread among all the collectibles was that you could show it to your family or friends in the future. Then again, the newspapers and magazines were merch in and of themselves. If you went to a big chain bookstore, ie Borders or Barnes and Noble, a few weeks after the election, you'd find magazines and newspapers shrink wrapped in plastic.

But Facebook is prone to keep logs, and people brag about events they're going to/have gone to on Facebook all the time. So, it's instant gratification, and if Facebook stays around, there is a scrapbook. But even if it goes under, who really goes back to a scrapbook decades later?
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:52 PM on January 25, 2009

Not sure this is what you're looking for, but:

Modern newspapers are made with highly acidic paper that will yellow and become brittle very quickly. Online articles printed out on acid-free paper will last longer in a physical scrapbook.
posted by Morrigan at 2:53 PM on January 25, 2009

You can't make a scrapbook out of interactive products, but people won't care when they realize that they don't want scrapbooks anymore anyway.
posted by The Michael The at 2:56 PM on January 25, 2009

"Newspapers will never die, you can't make a scrap book out of interactive products..."

1. When was the last time you saw someone making a scrapbook out of something other than family photos?
2. interactive products ARE the new scrapbooks
3. almost nothing is so interactive that you can't printscreen. Pow, scrapbook!
posted by jessamyn at 3:00 PM on January 25, 2009

"If only there was no such thing as a printer."
posted by rhizome at 3:16 PM on January 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Remember, digital stuff is more real than physical stuff, not less.
posted by kindall at 3:21 PM on January 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm at loss for what to say, because it sounds like the person who uttered that statement has never used a computer or if they have they didn't like it. If sounds like someone old and set in their ways i.e. preferring a physical object, so I'm not sure anything there's anything, let alone smart, that you can say to change their point of view.

You're going to have to do something that can see and hold

Maybe print out some things from the internet, say the giant photo of Obama's inauguration, and paste it up on a wall, an entire wall. Perhaps then they'll understand the power of the internet for scrapbooks.

Or show them the collection of newspaper fronts from the Obama inauguration on mobile device or load up a bunch of photos on the device and let them flip through that, as a song from the device plays. That's usually gets-'em.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:36 PM on January 25, 2009

I'm going to take this in two parts:

"Newspapers will never die"

paper isn't the best thing about newspapers, paper is what's holding newspapers back.

paper makes books heavy and news late, it sucks with resolution, damages easily and the ink likes to stain everything it touches. paper has only been this predominant because it was the best possible technology to store and distribute content on but that has passed. paper is just like the floppy disk, the betamax tape, the polaroid camera. it has been replaced by better technology. we have the ability to access news stories instantly now, which paper cannot compete with, at nearly or no cost and in superior detail. the kindle is a good example of display technology, the only thing thus far keeping the paper alive, catching up.

newspapers are not a mature business, they are dying because they are hanging on to an already dead leg - paper. the news business will survive. the printing and distribution service will not and scrapbooking is not a viable business model to support an organization like the new york times, much less the hick valley country-statesman.

"you can't make a scrap book out of interactive products..."

of course you can! youtube is a giant digital scrapbook and so is flickr! tons of greeting card websites and applications from imovie to iphoto to illustrator beg for your interaction. there are publishers on the web that will print your picture books from uploaded files, any files even! moo.com will turn your digital life into cards and stickers of many sizes.

what if not a modern scrapbook is a youtube video putting footage of a candidate together with a statement or music track?

to say you can't do this online is nearsighted. the web has grown to this from nothing in a little more than ten years. imagine where we will be in another two - or three!
posted by krautland at 3:50 PM on January 25, 2009

Smart ways?
posted by wfrgms at 3:56 PM on January 25, 2009

I'd say, yes it is likely that somebody somewhere will still be publishing news in a hard copy format that can be used in a physical scrapbook. That doesn't mean that the other 99.99% of such publications are going to survive.
posted by winston at 3:57 PM on January 25, 2009

Newspapers will never die.

What inventions have remained with us since ancient times without modifications? It's entirely possible Egyptians made sweeping statement about the permanence of papyrus, as did myopic monks about the timelessness of illustrated manuscripts.

You can't make a scrapbook out of interactive products.

Scrapbooks have evolved from 15th century common place books to today's digital scrapbooks. Newspapers are only one medium used in contemporary scrapbooks. In time, they will be phased out as new, more convenient media evolve for storing and retaining memorabilia.
posted by terranova at 4:09 PM on January 25, 2009

"Polaroid will never die, you can't replace instant photos!"

"Slides will never die, how else could someone display all their vacation pictures?"

"VHS will never die--you can't record tv shows on DVD!"

"The classifieds are vital--you can't look for jobs on your computer." (Especially good, since newspapers rely on classifieds and they're disappearing).

"Fax will never die--you can't send a memo from a computer."

Okay, snarky replies aside, point out that scrapbooking's main goal--being able to show photos, memorabilia, etc. to others, despite their complete lack of interest--is being completely replaced with younger generations. My friends who got married six years ago have a wedding scrapbook of photos, napkins, and other knick-knacks that you can go to their house and look at. My friends who got married two weeks ago have an album of their photos, but they also have a facebook album with all of their wedding photos, all of their honeymoon photos, photos that friends took at the reception and afterparty, a video of their first dance, and clips of the ceremony. I can look at those online, or I can borrow one of the DVD's they had made and copy it. With my other friends, I'd have to call them up and drive over to their house to browse through a series of generic, boring, professional wedding photos that reflect just about nothing of the event.

In six years, I've glanced at one set of pictures, and in two weeks, I've seen the bulk of the other set and left comments on them, along with comments from friends and family.
posted by Benjy at 4:10 PM on January 25, 2009

Issues of newspapers are thinner and thinner as are the staffs. Can they survive without advertisers or readers? Will the dailies become weeklies mostly printing old 'news' and classified ads for puppies and used cars?
posted by Cranberry at 4:44 PM on January 25, 2009

I'm going to guess that maybe this person is suggesting that websites, social networks, blogs, etc all require power of one form or another. Scrapbooking doesn't.
posted by Sailormom at 5:01 PM on January 25, 2009

There's no rule that says a product won't stop being produced as long as some people like it. It's a matter of degree: the product needs to be so important to consumers that the people who produce it can recoup their expenditures plus make a profit. What's this person's evidence that the demand for scrapbook material is that great? The burden is on that person to support the claim.
posted by Jaltcoh at 5:08 PM on January 25, 2009

I don't think analyzing this statement literally is the best way to go about it. When I read it I think of it more along the lines of digital media vs. non digital, not scrapbooking sucks and who enjoys scrapbooking. When it comes to digital media some people just really hate it, it took photographers a while before they gave in, musicians, small business, etc. Digital obviously has it's benefits in all kinds of aspects but there are certain things that just plain need to be real, something you can hold on to. If I'm riding the subway to work I'm going to read a paper, I don't own an Iphone. When I'm on a plane I like to read magazines, likewise when I"m on the shitter. There's just something about waking up in the morning and drinking a cup of coffee while reading the paper, it's a little different than waking up and going to nytimes.com and scrolling through the sports section. There's no arguing that digital media has simplified and made a lot of things easier but I tend to agree with the statement, the printed paper will always have a presence somewhere. If you're trying to argue against the statement I wouldn't say something like "scrapbooking sucks, and btw you can make digital scrapbooks with hyperlinks.....or just print it out and make a scrapbook that way" b/c I don't really think that's the point of the statement.
posted by BrnP84 at 5:22 PM on January 25, 2009

"We will always have cars because otherwise you couldn't go to a drive-thru" is logically equivalent and perhaps more obviously stupid. Or, pushing it, "the climate won't change, because if it did we'd drown".

The underlying assumption of the statement is the same as BrnP84's: that newspapers will stick around because we value certain things about them -- people enjoy making scrapbooks, they like the tactility and portability of paper.

But the problem facing newspapers is one of business model, and it means that unless people are willing to pay $6 a copy (which is a lotta scrapbook love), it's irrelevant how useful and nice the printed paper is: it's far too expensive and it's going to die. Soon.
posted by bonaldi at 5:41 PM on January 25, 2009

I agree bonaldi, kinda...A good business model also remembers to please the consumer and that means, if there's a market for something than someone is going to come in and capitalize off it. The organic foods market is an example, it's not as cost effective to grow organically but people demand it so other people supply it. Some people will never let go of paper media (myself included, I don't like the idea of taking my laptop into a room made to excrete feces) and I don't see it ever completely dying out, it's definetely going to take a hit but it'll still be there in one form or another.
posted by BrnP84 at 5:57 PM on January 25, 2009

Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc are nothing but scrapbooks. And, in most ways, vastly superior ones. They can have video, audio, and live data, not just yellowed clippings from the news. Your friends from across the world can see, read, and contribute, and through this digital collection you can meet new people and make new friends. It can be done just about anywhere now, giving it much more immediacy. While it's not a tactile experience, it is a vastly richer one, and one that is becoming a natural part of hundreds of millions of people's daily (and hourly) lives--a vastly larger reach than scrapbooking ever had.

As for "newspapers will never die"... Not sure you can say anything to anyone that deluded, just wave at them as you go by on the path of history that they've stepped of of. I am reminded that indeed there are a few wheelwrights out there who can make you a fine wooden wagon wheel. But they exist to support a novelty, hobbyist and specialist market. So while it's not "dead" in the sense that there are still wooden wheels being made, wheelwright-ship is indeed dead in that it has gone from being a common part of daily life to the point where no one you know has ever employed one and anyone perusing a career in it would be thought to be a real weirdo. This is where newspapers are headed as surely as the earth spins 'round the sun. And with the flailing economy combined with the rise of cheap computers and ubiquitous Internet, that day is coming fast. (Hell, my daily paper delivery costs more than my monthly DSL. Why would I pay for the paper when I'm trying to cut my bills?)

Anyone expressing "____ will never die!" is a lost cause. But you might ask your dialogue partner to try to get a job at the Chicago Tribune, LA times, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Rocky Mountain News, or any Detroit newspaper. Or invest the hundreds of millions of dollars needed to save any one of those papers from doom.

That's just with 5 minutes of Googling. And all of those headlines are in the last 6 weeks.
posted by Ookseer at 6:10 PM on January 25, 2009

Not to derail, but the OP's opponent might have a similar comeback:
A good business model also remembers to please the consumer and that means, if there's a market for something than someone is going to come in and capitalize off it.
Yes, but this makes the classic newspaper mistake: the consumer isn't the guy at the news-stand, it's the advertiser. Newspapers don't survive by selling journalism to readers; they sell readers to advertisers -- the journalism's just the lure.

This is why they'll die even when there are readers still willing to buy a printed paper -- there won't be companies willing to buy the expensive adverts that massively, massively subsidise the cost of creating and printing the thing.
posted by bonaldi at 6:23 PM on January 25, 2009

More specifically, a huge part of the newspaper's income came from the classified ads. With eBay, Craigslist, etc. on the scene, the newspaper would be hurting even without a reduction in demand for copies.
posted by winston at 6:37 PM on January 25, 2009

Response by poster: holy cow, these are great. keep them coming.

As a back story, the quote "Newspapers will never die, you can't make a scrap book out of interactive products..." came from a newspaper person after another newspaper person was gloating about how many newspapers they sold for the Obama Inauguration.
posted by Paleoindian at 7:38 PM on January 25, 2009

The scrapbooks of the future will be interactive as well.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:02 PM on January 25, 2009

Ookseer I get where you're going but there's a difference between wooden wheels and newspapers and that difference is practicality. There really is really no practical use for something like a wooden wheel these days, just like there's no use for plate armor but there's still people out there who make them. Newspapers are just easy, it's cheap and expendable, I don't mind if I spill coffee on it and I can fold it up and bring it with me wherever I want to go. The printed newspaper might not be a novelty you would use but there are people out there who enjoy holding a piece of paper to get there news, that's why our streets are littered with them and you see people on the bus reading them. We could take this a step further and say why even have books, why not read all of our books digitally? The day that the printed book becomes extinct will be a sad sad day and I feel that this sentiment is felt by enough people in the world to not ever let that happen.
posted by BrnP84 at 8:17 PM on January 25, 2009

the quote "Newspapers will never die, you can't make a scrap book out of interactive products..." came from a newspaper person after another newspaper person was gloating about how many newspapers they sold for the Obama Inauguration

This is a kind of slippery slope for a newspaper to start down. Presidents are inaugurated only once every four years. What happens the other 1460 days? What is on their front page that is going to induce people to collect each day's papers in large numbers? The incentive to start creating newspaper-collectible occasions is very strong.

There are some who would say that this has already happened.
posted by kindall at 8:39 PM on January 25, 2009

If you talk to an archivist, they may tell you that one of their least favorite things to deal with are scrapbooks. The paper and adhesives used to make scrapbooks are generally low quality and deteriorate and discolor over a short amount of time. Paper attracts insects, needs to be climate controlled and is quickly damaged by fire and water. So many archives, libraries and museums are racing to get their paper (especially newspaper) collections digitized because they are deteriorating so rapidly.

I guess I kind of use my Facebook page for scrapbook type purposes. If I read a great article on newspaper website, I post a link on my Facebook page. I post personal pictures and share interesting images or blogs that I find, sort of like a 21st century scrapbook.
posted by pluckysparrow at 9:04 PM on January 25, 2009

"yes you can"
posted by swbarrett at 9:17 PM on January 25, 2009

Check out web clipping plug ins to browsers, especially Safari's built-in, Clipmarks, etc.
posted by alcopop at 10:12 PM on January 25, 2009

Honestly, I don't think you should bother.

If they are still telling themselves these fairy tales, a decade and a half after Netscape navigator was released, in the face of overwhelming evidence that the business model for local dailies is horribly broken, they either can't be convinced, or they need something to cling to.

There are people younger than me who have said, in all seriousness, that the "problem for writers is that our culture just doesn't value good writing anymore" as an explanation for the problems the print media is going through, and others lament how sad it would be to read on an electronic device (rather than a book). I didn't ask them why the weren't still reading off a sheepskin scrolls. They don't realize that they are fetishizing the medium (don't get me wrong, I love nice paper, etc), that a book is just a tool.

BTW, re scrapbooks, sales of custom photobooks are seeing a lot of growth, while "traditional" prints of digital photos are in decline.
posted by Good Brain at 11:22 PM on January 25, 2009

came from a newspaper person after another newspaper person was gloating about how many newspapers they sold for the Obama Inauguration.

Hi, I'm a newspaper person.

I went looking for a high rez version of a pic from the inauguration to put on my desktop before getting a copy of the local daily to cilp out a picture and put it on the wall. I know they newspaper copy will eventually yellow and age, while I'll be able to print out a high resolution copy for decades.

Also, it's been a week since Obama was elected. How many copies have they sold since? Does selling a bunch of copies on January 20th mean layoffs aren't in the future?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:25 AM on January 26, 2009

came from a newspaper person after another newspaper person was gloating about how many newspapers they sold for the Obama Inauguration.

wow. but he's on the sales side of things, right? a corporate chipmunk paid to look for an upside? because all the print journos I know are either already unemployed, without a retirement plan worth mentioning or scared shitless.
posted by krautland at 4:31 AM on January 26, 2009

Scrapblog is my favourite.
posted by Hildegarde at 5:25 AM on January 26, 2009

The argument for newspapers seems to boil down to the fact that newspapers are physical, time-specific items that you can attach personal nostalgia to. For instance, my fiancee went out and bought newspapers the day after Obama's inauguration, and I have newspapers of the Red Sox winning the World Series. But you can go on the NYT website and order copies of these papers if you want. But that's clearly not the point - people want the exact physical memento of that specific day. So it's true, online will never supplant that. But is that desire going to save the printed page? I don't see how, economically, an occasional desire for a printed copy is going to keep the newspaper industry alive when newspapers have an economically viable web presence and the ability to produce "memento copies" of newspapers at a premium rate for the scrapbookers that want them.
posted by lubujackson at 7:00 AM on January 26, 2009

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