A bin is filled with Laffy Taffy candies at the Sweet Dish candy store in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
We live in an age of instant gratification. I have numbers to prove it, especially in the print and online media universe. As the information and data age matures, the buzz is focused on metrics with regard to online usage in both the consumer and business-to-business community.
We are seeing communications in a state of flux—newspapers and magazines are slowly declining. Headlines in the Aug. 6 issue of the Wall Street Journal points out how media companies such as News Corp., Gannett, Time-Warner, and E.W. Scripts are splitting apart, spinning off their publishing divisions so they can focus on more profitable and faster-growing broadcasting businesses.
And we all know that the television (and even radio) broadcasting world is all about entertainment. Even the news.
Guess what—the Internet is as well. Even the news. The metrics I was talking about earlier are the numbers of people who come to websites, how long they stay on those websites, what they read on those websites, and where they go from those websites. The bigger the numbers, the better.
So what does this have to do with the HVAC Industry? Everything. The websites that inhabit our sphere are focused on the business of designing and building mechanical comfort and process systems for our homes, schools, office spaces, and industrial plants. Our content is product-based, educational, and useful for the serious business of designing HVAC systems that create safe and healthy environments for us to work and live in.
The operative word here: “serious.”
Because the mechanical systems industry is vertically focused, traffic is light, especially when compared with consumer sites. Does this mean that maybe we’re too serious?
Enter the idea of eye candy. No I’m not talking about calendar girls and inappropriate photos—I’m talking about interactive games, trivia, and outside-the-box fun that may only border on useful from a technological standpoint, but are great stress relievers and fun from a human-condition standpoint.
For example, recently Executive Editor Scott Arnold and Editorial Advisory Board member Ron Wilkinson collaborated on a video gallery titled, “HVAC in Popular Movies: Did Hollywood Get It Right?”
The gallery points out the often erroneous depictions of HVAC systems in popular entertainment. It is very tongue and cheek. It is humorous. It is fun.
And it has garnered an absolute avalanche of traffic. The metrics went through the roof.
As fun as that is, we still have the serious work of educating and informing our audience. And that cannot be highlighted any better than with the stories that appear in this month’s issue of the magazine.
From the very technical “Evaluating Power-Demand Reduction With VFD-Controlled Systems” (Page 22 in the print magazine), to “What Owners Need to Know About Duct-Free HVAC” (Page 20 in the print magazine), to the ever-important energy conservation topic covered by “Improving the Efficiency of Small to Mid-Sized Buildings” (Page 14 in print), we remain committed to bringing you the very best, most accurate, and useful content possible.
So here’s the question: from an Internet perspective, do you like when we have some fun with galleries like the HVAC in Hollywood gallery? What other fun, out-of-the-box content would you find entertaining?
Engineers need fun too, right? I’d love to hear back from you on the need to balance between the serious and the eye candy. Either post something here in our comments area (you need to register to do that) or simply email me directly.