It's like a law of the universe. Media never truly disappear. They transform themselves, becoming something we don't immediately recognize. They are dusted off after a period of disuse. They even become the content of new media. Marshall McLuhan offered this insight before the computer found millions of users.
That was before we could imagine media that devoured content the way our online media do. It's the rear-view mirror - when we experience something that is already behind us, something that has slightly, every slightly, shifted. We're not looking, or listenig, directly, although we tend forget that fact when we become heavy users.
Think of Vogue magazine. An antique, ready for obsolescence, right? Not really. Vogue's lavish photos offer a richness and tactility on the glossy page that can't yet be imitated online. Also, a copy of the magazine gets picked up an average of six times before it's discarded. So the million or so copies printed each month actually represent several million readers. And the magazine content - both the pics and the journalism - is taken up by blogs, videos, television, and other print media.
It's the old medium becoming content for the new medium. In the case of Voguei, it means fashion retailers are offered a valuable advertising channel indeed, one that really can't be matched online.
So what's the next medium to be transformed? I like the novellas and documentaries produced as podcasts. They offer something of the anticipation and excitement of the old radio dramas while dealing with compelling stories and urgent social issues. Lots of people are tuning in, and the convenience of the podcast, which is anytime-anywhere, only adds to the appeal.
Many more people can use media for finding a wider audience, but understanding how and why they're doing it is as important as crafting the message. The rear-view mirror offers an insight into how we use and reuse media, and how the old becomes new again.