Social Media Monthly is not an Alberta magazine, normally the topic of this category, but is nevertheless a most interesting magazine — at least to me — in that it is a print magazine promoting social media and online technologies. According to its website the magazine was conceived at the 2011 South by Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin Texas and was launched 53 days later on May 20, 2011 at BlogWorld 2011 in New York. Three weeks later it secured national distribution in the US through Barnes and Noble. The magazine was honoured as one of the top magazine launches of 2011 by MIN, an organization that reports on the publishing industry. Published by Robert Fine, the founder of Cool Blue Companies and author of The Big Book of Social Media Case Studies, Stories and Perspectives, the magazine seems to have hit a sweet spot, at least with companies offering web based social media services and social media conferences across the US. The magazine is now sold in 19 countries and 15% of the subscribers are from outside the US. Not bad for the first year in the life of a print magazine in a digital world.
Robert is no stranger to start ups. He has over 17 years experience as a systems and sales engineer with companies such as Hughes Network Systems, and most recently as Senior Director of IT for Global Strategy & Development at Conservation International. He is currently pursuing a PhD at George Mason University where he is researching links between investments in information technology and achieving conservation outcomes.
In this 35 minute interview of Bob Fine with Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz, Fine recounts the magazine’s origins, why he opted to produce a print magazine about social media, the audience he’s trying to reach, the motivation of article authors, and a host of other topics.
Having chartered the opposite course from Fine, in that I started my magazine (now mediamag.ca) in print and then took it exclusively online, I found this interview especially interesting. As for the Social Media Monthly, what strikes me the most is that there is not one Fortune 500 advertiser in the magazine even through the magazine is 50% full of full page ads. Most of the ads come from social media conferences to be held throughout the US and service providers offering aspects of social media support and tools. The other thing that strikes me is that the authors are not staff writers but freelance writers contributing their content for a byline and wide exposure. It would be interesting to know if they were paid.
Each issue so far has a theme e.g. Social Media and the Health Care Sector, Social Media and Law Enforcement, Social Media and Sports (an article in this issue focuses on the use of social media to capture footage from the riots after the Stanley Cup and then to capture and convict the perpetrators by the Vancouver police thereafter.) The March issue focuses on social media and the upcoming US election and the use of social media in politics in general.
Fine admits he is a techie through and through yet I was especially impressed with the quality of the artwork, the design and the printing of the magazine. It displays a lot of love for magazines and for the readers.
Subscriptions are available for $39.99 in Canada. Single issues on sale at Chapters for $7.00