monocle and comments

by Hugh

Dan Hill has a wonderful posting of Monocle design notes. There’s much good and thought-provoking stuff in there, particularly if you are interested in text as a medium, and the thinking behind the next generation of media, which sees web and print as different, and complementary, and builds both accordingly. This struck me particularly for some reason:

In terms of user generated content, or user discussion of Monocle pieces, my view was that we didn’t need comments on the site as people increasingly have their own spaces to talk, discuss, comment – whether that’s blogs and discussion fora, or the social software of Facebook et al. So a more progressive approach would be to ensure that everything is linkable and kept online – with clean, permanent URL structures – thus encouraging people to point to articles from the comfort of their own sites. At some point, we could begin to aggregate responses to Monocle editorial, Technorati-style, perhaps (it’s a development of a strategy I’d outlined at the BBC, which there was also predicated on ‘tear-off strips’ of content as well, enabling people to grab BBC media and build a blog entry around it).

Adam Greenfield wasn’t so taken by Monocle, which echoes my reaction years ago to Tyler Brulé’s previous magazine venture, Wallpaper: basically, a fancy mag for rich people who like to covet well-designed, and really expensive, things, and travel to exotic places to have experiences other people aren’t smart/rich/good-looking/adventurous/enlightened enough to contemplate. (Which is fine, but usually doesn’t interest me for all that long).

I’ve never read Monocle, and though I admire the web site, it’s never pulled me in for whatever reason. It might just be because the bespoke tailoring is for a kind of suit I don’t like to wear.