The New World of the Mental Magazine

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I have been a magazine junkie ever since I was a little kid, and had my first attempt at an article published at age 8.

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Aside from a stint as a college instructor (where I taught courses in magazine writing and production), working for traditional magazines is really the main thing I've ever done for a living. Here, you see a small selection of ones that have published my writing about horses.

I suppose you could say that after 30-some years at this, I have ink running through my veins.

But the other day, it occurred to me that the consumers of information now have access to a type of personalized, "mental magazine" that has nothing to do with ink. ?They self-select its content by making regular visits to their bookmarked ?blogs, forums, message boards, and other destinations on the Web. The daily cruise through the bookmarks becomes a pattern, a predictable menu of material that bears resemblance to the regular articles menu that traditional magazine makers serve up every month between printed covers.

There are some differences, though. Those into the mental magazine concept (and I include myself in this category) are, in effect, their own editors of material. They don't assign stories to fit the declared menu--they just cherry-pick from a universe of choices already out there.

In many cases, they're also their own contributors of content. (Who knew, until the advent of the blog, that so many people would be so eager to write about the mostly forgettable details of their daily lives, and that so many others would care to read about such stuff?)

With this in mind, I've developed a heightened awareness of what I'm doing to myself when clicking (not flipping) through my self-selected mental magazine. Any kind of information, regularly digested, ends up having some level of influence on a person's thinking and behavior.

So...what do I want that influence to be?

That is one of those rhetorical questions for you to take away and ponder on. But just between you and me, I have answered that question for myself by deleting certain bookmarks from my mental magazine's menu.

Those horse-group message boards frequented by the negatoids and those addicted to the cyber-publication of their own snark? Gone.

The forums whose members live largely for gossip, innuendo, and hearsay? Deleted.

The blogs that aren't fun or enlightening in some way? Not gonna bother.

Once an editor--always an editor.