Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Guest Blogger: James York, founder of Blokely

Never before has the average man had access to, let alone needed, so much lifestyle information. But if 'knowledge is power', why are the majority of male-centric publication's readerships falling like dodos off a cliff?

One could make assumptions about the proliferation of the internet or boldly claim that men 'just don't buy magazines anymore'. But it might be that they simply don't relate to what they are being presented with. Put simply, their personal aspirations are not congruent with the market model in which the word ‘aspiration’ has been synonymous with the content.

Aspiration doesn't require economic value to play a part and, instead of reinforcing male self-confidence and virtues, it has latterly, and inadvertently, threatened to turn the masses into expensive-shoe chasing, self-conscious paranoids. It's interesting to see men rebelling against what risks becoming a contrived consumption-driven paradigm. They are defiantly showing that, whilst all life's frills have a rightful place at the table - few put them at the head of it all.

 Modern men have become cynics, impervious to these expensive and colourful lifestyle peacocks that dance in front of them so blatantly. And while they still buy clothes and shaving products, try to find wives and lovers and watch movies, more of the same unattainable, aspirational content is the last thing they require.

Let's take a step back and get back to value-adding practicality - the flint-like tools of male lifestyle. Afterall, the pace of falling readership in the magazine world runs in parallel to the fortunes of Western economies over the last ten years. Perhaps the market needs to reflect that? Be ready for the next boom and bust. There is a remodelling of collective identity taking place in reaction to the new realities of modern digital life. It's a measured approach to consumption and the choices available. Now, the ambition is to be secure and avoid repeating the mistaken attitudes that got the economies of the West into such a pickle in the first place.

James York is the founder and editor of men's lifestyle online magazine Blokely.