In 1995, when Lavender Magazine (and this column) began, the leather community’s media landscape was much different than it is today. Leather media were almost exclusively print. Drummer Magazine was the gay male leather community’s iconic publication. Mister Marcus Hernandez’s leather column in the Bay Area Reporter also was read widely. Other publications catering to the leather community included International Leatherman and The Leather Journal.
Shortly after this column debuted, leather came to the recently-invented World Wide Web when Joe Gallagher started Leatherpage.com, which collected a variety of leather-community writing (including your humble columnist’s) in one place.
In 2011, Lavender and this column are still here. The Leather Journal still is publishing. Everything else mentioned above is gone.
What has replaced them?
Instigator Magazine has assumed the mantle once held by Drummer. Leatherati.com is an online source for leather news and opinion. Otherwise, leather/BDSM/fetish media have changed along the lines of other media. Plenty of leather is on Facebook if you know the right people. For fetish, Fetlife.com has become “the kinky Facebook.” More blogs, podcasts, and websites exist than one person can hope to experience in a lifetime. Recon.com and many other sites are for hooking up.
This new leather-media landscape is both more and less than it was in 1995. Much more information is flowing, in many more forms, produced by many more people.
So much information, however, leads to less focus, and, too often, less quality. As with the rest of modern media, we all are swimming in more data than ever, but it has become more difficult to pluck the information of the best quality and the most relevance.
Magazines have professional editors, writers, and designers. We trust editors to select the most important and relevant stuff from the barrage of information. They assign professional writers to present the information clearly, while professional designers package the information in an attractive, easy-to-read format.
Today, too often, these functions go unfilled. Blogs and websites allow anyone to be a writer and designer—regardless of whether they actually know how to write or design. The profusion of available information frequently means we all have to be our own editors.
So, because you’re reading this, thanks for editing your media diet to include Lavender and this column.