By Jim McCloskey
In the weeks since we announced the suspension of WaterShapes as a printed magazine, I’ve gotten a fair amount of friendly advice about how I should do things differently in moving forward.
With all-new apologies to the reader who complained about our use of Marilyn Monroe’s curves to attract attention to our newsletter (see my blog of Sept. 13), I’ve been told by one correspondent to “think swimsuits” and take WaterShapes in what can best be described as a mildly pornographic direction. This one I dismissed as a joke, no matter how seriously it might have been proposed.
Another reader thought it would be best just to stage the magazine online with pretty much the same approach, look and feel as the print edition. It would be wonderful if this were possible, but it won’t work financially because WaterShapes was always supported by advertising, and advertisers have proved unwilling to pay as much for digital ads as they will for printed ones. (Although printing and postage are major expenses, maintaining a print magazine’s staff is far more costly.)
A third reader endorsed what we’re doing in maintaining our watershapes.com Web site and keeping the WaterShapes EXTRA! e-newsletter going on a twice-monthly basis. This reader’s comment is much appreciated because it’s the path we’ve chosen to follow while we sort things out and set future courses.
I’m also intrigued by a fourth possibility that came up just recently, when a longtime reader suggested I should use the site and newsletter to support a revolution in the industry — one in which the old ways and standards of doing things are all reconsidered, in which there’s no tolerance for anything other than excellence in design and construction and in which “truth” is told about products, technologies and even contractors on the level of Consumer Reports, no holds barred.
While the first two general concepts don’t move my spirits and the third is already under way, the fourth suggestion has the value of being new and different. What do you think? Is this a direction we should follow, or is it a step in the wrong direction?