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It's a blogger's world and print publications just live in it. Thanks to the power of internet self-publishing, mini media empires have been built by small companies and passionate individuals working from their homes.  Increasingly, these online mini media empires have complicated the picture for print publications whose online presences have been forced to compete on less favorable terms for a more fragmented online audience.

In an effort to stay relevant, print publications are trying to sup up their internet efforts. The latest example of that: Time's new tech/geek blog, Techland.

Techland is led by Time tech editor Peter Ha, who up until September was an editor for TechCrunch's gadget blog, CrunchGear. Other contributors include Matt Selman, who has written episodes of Seinfeld and The Simpsons, and professional writers/journalists Lev Grossman, Tracey John, and Steven James Snyder.

The blog, which, in my opinion bears some resemblance to Wired.com both visually and in terms of subject matter, covers just about everything geeky: gadgets, gaming, culture and tech news. In the blog's first post, Ha explains where Techland fits in:

Think of TECHLAND as the water cooler for nerds. Or, the way I see it, TECHLAND is the result of some weird orgy involving Jeff Albertson, a Cylon, Lev Grossman and Nikola Tesla. Weird, right? But it just works.

But does it work? There's good news, and bad news.

The good news first: Techland's content is authentic geek. From handset reviews to news that filming for the big-screen adaptation of Thor will begin in January 2010, Techland has the type of tech and geek news you'd probably never find in the pages of Time, or on Time.com. Some of the content is short-form (the post on Thor weighs in at a mere 85 words), there's video and the authors respond to comments. In other words, Techland is being run like a genuine blog and not a print publication.

That's refreshing, and Time was wise to bring in a blogging veteran like Ha to lead the effort. But is all this enough to make Techland a success?

That's where the bad news comes in: I think Time is trying to bite off too much. As I write this, Techland more closely resembles a menagerie of anything geeky than it does a somewhat-focused tech blog, as evidenced by the following sampling of headlines:

  • T-Mobile BlackBerry Bold 9700 Review
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox – the Comic Book?
  • Raising a Nerdy Child: iPhone Games
  • The Winter of Thor. Filming starts in January!
  • The 50 Best Inventions for 2009
  • Jay-Z talks DJ Hero and The Blueprint 3

In my opinion, Techland's apparent attempt to cover anything that might fall under the category of 'pop geek' could be a liability. After all, most of the web's top tech blogs have been built around niches within the tech category. That makes sense because covering everything 'techie' or 'geeky' is a tough task.

At the end of the day, Techland's success will depend on its eclectic mix of subject matter resonating with consumers, or not. Will Techland's breadth make it an appealing read for more mainstream techies and geeks, or will its lack of depth leave it unable to compete with already-established and more narrowly-focused popular tech blogs?

One thing is for sure: Time won't be the last traditional publication that attempts to compete with popular blogs. And win or lose, that's a good thing.

Patricio Robles

Published 17 November, 2009 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

2380 more posts from this author

Comments (2)

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Alex Gavin

In this new era of media, it is important for traditional publications to attempt to stay relevant. All across the country, print publications are going under due to a lack of solvency, a situation that is growing exponentially due to the increased availability and low (sometimes no) cost of using the web. 

Techland is a progressive effort from one of the world's most respected print publications, Time magazine, to embrace these changes. Instead of viewing the advent of online media as the eventual heir to traditional print mediums, Time has chosen to brand their publication with an online 'tech geek' blog, Techland. By recruiting the Time tech editor, Peter Ha, to front the effort, Techland can be received as a legitimate source of tech information from the web. As the Baby Boomers branch out and experience the new online medium, Techland is an effective bridge, one supported by the trusted foundations of Time magazine, for these web users. In addition, these Baby Boomers can become acquainted with the pithier, A.D.D. driven posts that are common in blog formatting. This way, Techland can serve to integrate a new batch of web users to the blogosphere via the Time brand. 

over 6 years ago

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LED light

took this issue under its wing when it decided to look into whether small- and medium-sized agencies could link these applications across agencies at a low cost.

almost 5 years ago

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