Reading on screen has a material difference
How we read is defined by what we read on, so the shift from paper to pixels is bringing big changes
Almost everyone under the age of 35 has spent a large part of their life in front of a screen. It could be a TV, computer monitor or mobile phone. There is a screen at the petrol pump and the ATM machine. In three decades, we have gone from a society based on paper to one based on pixels. With books on the iPad, bills online, newspapers and magazines on the web, RSS feeds, tweets, Facebook photos and YouTube videos, more than 90% of our reading is done on a screen.
Reading itself has changed. In the Journal of Research in Reading, Norwegian researcher Anne Mangen wrote that screen reading and page reading are radically different. "The feeling of literally being in touch with the text is lost when your actions – clicking with the mouse, pointing on touch screens, or scrolling with keys on touch pads – take place at a distance from the digital text, which is, somehow, somewhere inside the computer, e-book or mobile phone." She concluded: "Material ity matters… One main effect of the intangibility of the digital text is that of making us read in a shallower, less focused way."
In 2008, media critic William Powers wrote an essay in defence of paper called Hamlet's BlackBerry: Why Paper Is Eternal. He said: "There are cognitive, cultural, and social dimensions to the human-paper dynamic that come into play every time any kind of paper, from a tiny Post-It note to a groaning Sunday newspaper, is used to convey, retrieve, or store information."
Paper will never die, said Powers. "It becomes a still point, an anchor for the consciousness. It's a trick the digital medium hasn't mastered - not yet."
Younger people don't mind using screens. Christine Rosen said it best in The New Atlantis: "The book is modernity's quintessential technology - a means of transportation through the space of experience, at the speed of a turning page. But now that the rustle of the book's pages competes with the screen's blinking pixel, we must consider the possibility that the paper book is endangered. If we choose to replace the book, what will become of reading and the print culture it fostered?"
In 2007, the US National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) published a report: To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence. It provided ample evidence of the decline of reading for pleasure, particularly among the young. Nearly half of Americans ages 18 to 24 read no books for pleasure; ages 15 to 24 spend just seven to 10 minutes per day reading voluntarily; and two-thirds of college freshmen read for pleasure less than an hour per week or not at all. The real difference isn't between households with computers and without them; it is the one between households where parents teach their children the old-fashioned skill of reading and instil in them a love of books and households where parents do not do this.
Doctors and researchers note that paper can offer more visual sophistication than a screen. But certain types of paper, including inexpensive newsprint and the paper in softcover books, can actually provide a reading experience inferior to electronic alternatives.
There are numerous display technologies available, from B&W e-ink technology found in Amazon.com's Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook to the full-colour LCD display of Apple's iPad. Does one technology offer a better reading experience than the others? And are these technologies better than paper?
Different screens make sense for different uses. It depends on the viewing circumstances, including the software and typography on the screen. E-ink is great in sunlight, but in certain situations a piece of paper is a better display in dim light, and an LCD display can be better than all of these technologies. The trend appears to be moving from paper versus screens to screens versus other screens.
Marketers are poised to ramp up their spending on Web ads this year more quickly than previously expected, as advertisers allocate an increasing share of their budgets to the Internet, according to new projections from eMarketer Inc.
Online ad spending is expected to increase 20% to $31.3 billion in 2011, eMarketer predicts. The research firm previously pegged growth for Internet ad spending this year at 10.5%, to $28.5 million.
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Internet advertising revenues in the U.S. hit $7.3 billion for the first quarter of 2011, a 23 percent increase over the same period in 2010, according to figures released today by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers. This is the highest first-quarter revenue level ever for the industry.
Considering the pretty woeful hit rate of most Internet advertising, that may seem surprising, but as traditional ad destinations like broadcast TV and print publications continue to lose ground, advertisers probably don’t have many options. The technology continues to improve, however.
Internet Advertising is Targeted Advertising
Gone are the days of advertising when a product or service was sent via the mail system to people’s mailboxes. Today, more and more people, with a green outlook on life are saying no to paper and yes to Internet advertising. While all other forms of advertising are losing their appeal, more and more customers are selecting advertising received through electronic mediums as their reason for buying a product or choosing a service provider.
What is Internet Advertising?
Advertising via the Internet involves strategically using the Internet to target a service or product to large numbers of actual and potential customers. Advertising methods that may be used include email, search engine optimization (SEO), web site content and banner ads. Each of these is a very effective means of increasing sales and producing business if the strategies implemented are carefully planned.
How to Develop Strategies for Effective Advertising
There is a fine line between effectively marketing a product and being considered a spammer. If advertising campaigns deliver too much content to an email inbox or other online advertising mediums, they may actually do their company more harm than good. Effective advertising produces sales because targeted advertising suggests to the customer that the product being sold or offered will present some benefit to him or herself personally. Businesses may develop advertising strategies themselves using online resources or they may employ a web content and advertising specialist to produce and implement the advertising strategies for them.
Financial Costs of Using the Internet to Advertise
The financial cost to the business can be minimal depending on the strategies developed. Many online options including search engine optimization provide free listings on search engines, with only the cost the development of optimized web content on the business web page. This SEO content will enable the search engines like Google, yahoo and msn to find the business and to make the site highly visible to the person making an internet search for the product or service that the business is offering. Other services, like targeted email lists, also provide lists of potential customers who can opt in or out of the emails as they want to.
It has been shown that paid content advertising on niche websites provide the most effective form of Internet advertising. Banner ads and video ads placed on websites that are themselves of interest to the group targeted often produce the best results of all forms of advertising. If your business isn’t already engaged in Internet advertising, then maybe you should contact us to find out how you can use this powerful web tool to rocket your sales into 2011.
Dave Chesney Editor/Publisher
Read the full overview on Internet Advertising in Canada (CLICK