The blog is getting to be a bit of a struggle with two new books, both with the same deadline. Fortunately one is done, but I keep having ideas for things that should perhaps be included. And don’t anyone mention the stack of unread magazines or lost issues of Brainmail!

Anyway, it’s 6.05pm and I had enough of books for today, so here are a few snippets from my backlog of newspapers.

1. More than 25% of young people aged between 10 and 12 years of age in the UK now need a calculator to do basic sums. 33% don’t know how to use apostrophes either and their parents are now too busy to help them, with most parents spending less than 10 minutes helping kids learn per day.

2. A study from the University of Nebraska in the US says that right-wingers are more negatively inclined than liberals, who tend to look on the bright side. Reminds me of a quote that went something along the lines of left-wingers wanting to banish the past and right-wingers wanting to banish the future.

3. Another study (what do some people do all day?). This time it’s for Macmillan Cancer supports in the UK and it says that young people (thoseyoung people!) are surrounded by friends, but have very few that they can turn to in times of crisis. The survey of 1,000 people aged between 18 and 35 discovered that around 70% only had 2 or less real friends with 13% saying they had none at all. Apparently males are more likely to have fewer real friends than women.

The average number of Facebook friends remember is 130.

Reminds me of some research I quoted in Future Minds by sociologists at the University of Arizona and Duke University that found that Americans have fewer real friends than they used to. Back in 1985 the average American had 3 people to confide in about their problems. Now the figure is just 2. Fairly consistent then.

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2 Responses to Jottings

  1. Bradley says:

    Re: your first paragraph on content.

    So you write books to earn a living (I’m guessing), but blogs suit you better because they are more dynamic (i.e. you can keep adding more thoughts to them without a publishing deadline), but the problem with blogs is that you can’t earn a living from them. Is this correct?

    You are not alone with this problem. Just about every newspaper, magazine and publisher is experiencing it at the moment.

    So what’s your vision of the future for content? And especially paid-for content?

  2. Richard Watson says:

    No. You can’t really make a living writing books unless they sell in the millions. Having said that Future Files is in about 20 countries and does keep me in old French reds and high octane petrol. Speaking about books is another matter! Also helps to do a bit of scenario planning on McKinsey date rates. Do I want to make big money from blogs (or from Brainmail or What’s Next for that matter?). No. It’s a mix of cathartic personal expression, archiving and marketing, with the latter two being the most important. The archive point is important because if I see something it can easily be put into a category and found later (useful for books and other writing). The marketing point is simply that you can pull in certain types of traffic and then send them off to other places (books, scenario planning etc). All a rather nice symbiotic eco-system really.

    So…to answer the question, paid content is not going away and will have more value the more that free content becomes available. Free content isn’t going away either and we are already seeing traffic and migration between the two. The other issue is not so much authorship but readership. Who, if anyone, is reading free and paid content and why?

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