Inside GCM: The times they are a changin’
While I like to think of myself as a rather forward-thinking, technologically savvy guy, the truth is that my career in publishing dates back to a time before email, before cell phones, before the internet.
Don’t get me wrong — this wasn’t publishing in the Stone Age. We had computers. Even had them when I was studying communications in college at Baker University. The computers we used both then and in my first few jobs in the newspaper industry were big, bulky and slow, but they were computers. We were in the digital age.
But in reality, it was the very early days of the digital age. I didn’t have a work-related email address until my third newspaper stop, a full five years into my career. My first cell phone was the size of a brick — had about the same call quality, too — and I got it by winning a closest-to-the-pin contest at a golf tournament (don’t be too impressed — as I remember it, it was a skulled 6-iron that just happened to scoot up on the green). And publications I worked at didn’t fully convert to desktop publishing programs such as QuarkXPress or InDesign until shortly before I joined the staff of GCSAA in 1998. We might have been in the computer age, but we simply didn’t have any of the technological conveniences we enjoy today.
If there is a silver lining to all of this, though, it’s been that I’ve had a front-row seat to one of the most tumultuous and transformative eras that any business has ever seen. I’m sure superintendents who began their careers at about the same time as I did have seen plenty of changes to the jobs they do and the tools they use, but to see how technology has fundamentally changed the publishing industry, how society has changed in the way they consume news and information, and how all of that has impacted the way we all do business has been eye-opening, and, if I’m being honest, more than a little scary.
But because of all of that, I’ve also been fortunate enough to play a key role in adapting publications like GCM to all of that change, in helping the magazine pivot and adjust to these ever-changing landscapes. I’ve seen us move into blogging, something we first did way back in 2005. I’ve witnessed the introduction of GCM’s social media presences — we launched our Twitter account (@GCM_Magazine) back in 2008, and our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/GCMMagazine) followed not long after. I helped to get the digital edition of the magazine (http://gcmdigital.gcsaa.org) off the ground for the first time back in 2009.
And now I’ve been privileged enough to work with the rest of our outstanding team here at GCM and GCSAA to develop our latest technological leap forward — the magazine’s new website, www.gcmonline.com, which launched Aug. 1. The magazine has always had a presence on the association’s main website, www.gcsaa.org, and that will continue to be the case. But we think what you’ll find at www.gcmonline.com will be unlike anything available online in our industry.
The foundation of the new website will, of course, be the award-winning content that you’re accustomed to seeing every month in the pages of GCM. But www.gcmonline.com will be much more than that. There will be breaking news from the world of golf course management, video features from GCSAA TV, news from the broader game of golf, interaction with GCSAA’s other web properties and the vital content housed there, and up-to-date connections to the social media feeds of both the magazine and the association. In short, our mission is to make www.gcmonline.com your one-stop daily source of news and information about your industry and your career.
Change is always difficult, and that’s especially so when the change is as significant as what we’ve witnessed in the publishing world over the past two decades. But as a current ad campaign so appropriately puts it, “We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two.” We hope all the experiences and knowledge that we’ve accumulated over the years shines through at www.gcmonline.com and results in a relevant, useful experience for everyone who visits the site. Let us know what you think.
Scott Hollister is GCM’s editor-in-chief.