In the spring of 2011, I finally bought an iPad. I was pretty sure I would use it to take notes in meetings and to better organize my chaotic existence. This didn’t happen. Instead, it has become my “media center”. Long addicted to the news, the iPad gets it all: TV, radio, newspapers, and magazines. My idea of a great Saturday morning is to grab my iPad and read in bed for a couple of hours. If my iPad could make a large skim decaf latte and serve it to me….it would be the perfect machine. But alas, it is just a machine.
When hunger and thirst finally drive me out of bed, I head to my laptop. Amazingly, I will often read the Post Gazette website even though I have already read it on my iPad. The laptop experience is different. I often see pictures or come across articles I might have skipped on the iPad. There is a clearer hierarchy on the website and I can also satiate my curiosity about homes on the market by clicking the sidebar ads.
The morning is not complete until I check Facebook to see what my “friends” are doing. Admittedly, many of these people are professional connections and some are high school or college friends. The remainder are a hodgepodge of family, neighbors, old friends, and even old employees. No matter who they are, I like the sense of connection I get by hearing what they are thinking or doing whenever they happen to check in.
For better or for worse, the way we receive our information has profoundly changed. To remain vital, the AIA needs to change how we get information to you.
With that in mind, I want to welcome you to AIA’s new website and our digital version of Columns magazine. Columns has been a beloved icon of AIA Pittsburgh for as long as I have been here. Why mess with success? Three reasons: 1) The price to produce traditional print pieces continues its upward trajectory while ad sales remain flat. 2) Changing reading patterns. 3) The AIA is a community of architects and of those either interested in architecture or interested in access to architects. For many years we have watched attendance at traditional “member” meetings decline. On the flip side, we have watched attendance at special events like Build Pittsburgh and Design Pittsburgh steadily grow. Attendance at meetings for special interest areas like CRAN (the residential architects group) or UAG (the unemployed architects group) have also grown. This pattern follows the national trend of specialization in architectural practice. A digital format is an obvious answer to involving more people in the depth and breadth of what is now considered architecture.
We are looking forward to hearing what you have to say and letting you become a much more vital part of Columns as we move forward. Bring it on. We want your comments, criticisms, and participation in any way we can get it. Vital, strong communities depend on open dialogue and discussion. A digital format is one more weapon in our arsenal.