You don’t really understand the term “digital native” until you’ve seen a toddler make a swiping motion across a picture book, trying to get the story to advance. For those growing up in homes with a plethora of gadgets, it can be more natural to swipe—as on a tablet—than to lift a page corner and turn.
One thing is for certain: A digital native I am not. I took an electric typewriter to college and did not regularly set my fingers on a computer keyboard until I landed my first job. Said place of employ was a newspaper, where a composing room still used paper and wax to paste up pages. Which is to say that I am a print girl from way back. Whatever publication I’m working on, I love flipping through a new issue and inspecting this very tangible fruit of my labors.
Still, I and everyone else on the magazine staff are seldom without our devices. We read voraciously—books, newspapers, and magazines, electronically and in print. We have long known we desperately needed a better web presence for this magazine, so in the spring of 2013, we made a proposal to our publisher, the Wellesley College Alumnae Association, to build a new website. But not just any website—a responsive site, using evolving technology that adjusts its design according to what device you are using, for easier reading. It looks very different on a phone than on a laptop. We were one of the very first groups at the College to choose this technology, and did so with some trepidation. But we watched more and more sites in the wider world go responsive while we were in development, and I breathed a sigh of relief. The technology was going mainstream.
In the past year, the digital learning curve sometimes seemed so steep we needed ropes and carabiners, but we made it to the top and are thrilled with the results: magazine.wellesley.edu. Take a look. You’ll find there everything that’s in the print magazine, and then some—for example, galleries of photos that we just don’t have room for in print. Wellesley faces, reunion outtakes, shots of an early-morning row with the Wellesley crew. Other multimedia features will be added in the future. You’ll also see class notes online for the first time, protected behind a firewall. So wherever you are in the world, on whatever device, you can now access the entire alumnae magazine.
This may lead some of you to ask whether we will be doing away with the print version. The answer is a resounding no—at least for as far into the future as we can currently see. Many of you from around the world have told us that you love having Wellesley on your coffee table—a reminder of your College and alumnae community. We also want to make sure all alumnae have access to the magazine, not just the tech-savvy among you. However, if you wish to opt out of the print version, you may do so (email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-339-5233).
So settle in, curl up in your favorite chair, and dig into this new issue. Journey with us to the Red Planet, ponder the future of books and academic libraries, and read about how Wendy Posts It. Turn or swipe accordingly.