The Decline of WIRED? What happened to the radical optimism?

July 24, 2013, 3:06 pm


Wired, July 2013

Maybe it’s just me but I feel that the quality of WIRED has gone down this year. The latest issue touched a nerve. They outline how to get around academic publisher paywalls. One of their tips is to find someone in college who will give you their access info allowing you to proxy in. It bothered me and substantiated what I’m been feeling over the last few issues: an obvious decline in content and character.


Full disclosure – I’m a long time subscriber of WIRED. I’ve enjoyed their positive, progressive, future-oriented view of the world. But there has been a noticeable drop once Chris Anderson left. I mean, Long Tail, Free, and Makers are all awesome books. He is definitely a thought leader in economics-meets-technology. I didn’t fully realize it until it was gone, but Chris developed a sense of radical optimism – and I miss that. I miss being inspired by every issue.


But things change. WIRED has to do what they need to do to survive. I’ll keep reading because there is always at least one fantastic article and it’s only $12 a year. In this issue it is the intelligence piece. But this caused me to reflect on Men’s Health. Six or seven years ago I subscribed to that magazine and appreciated all of the nutrition and workout content. But slowly the character of the periodical changed. It shifted from being directed at (young?) professionals to a college audience. They started emphasizing sex, dating, pop culture, and humor… and that’s fine, but there was much less focus on men’s health. It’s kind of like MTV ignoring music.


And, I get it. Things evolve. It’s about selling subscriptions and there is probably more money in being a lifestyle magazine than a health magazine, but there is already a glut of that type of content. Hmmm, maybe Chris Anderson should take over Men’s Health… at least for one special issue… now that would be interesting.

I hope that you are all enjoying your summer.

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