What You Read Reveals Who You Are, or Does it?

Magazinecoverscollage Aren't we all business executives now?

According to a recent survey by Ipsos Media American  business executives — CEOs and other C-suite officers from mid- to large-size companies, including many from the Fortune 500 –- seek quality business information from a variety of media sources, including magazines and journals, the internet, and digital and satellite television. From the release [emphasis mine]:

The survey also examines the typical business leader's way of life — showing they travel frequently, spend more nights in hotels, and are heavy users of technology as part of their work life. They also enjoy the perks of their positions in their personal lives, valuing personal luxuries the latest technical gadgets, and a high quality of life with their family and friends. When compared to their European and Asian counterparts, American executives have a greater taste for personal material luxuries and claim a significantly higher net worth.

The concept has been around for a while. Patricia Pormelau founded CEO Express Company in 1998 and launched the first online portal, CEOExpress.com in 1999 to organize the best resources on the Web for busy executives. Current visits to the portal are 1.8M per month.

The site’s ultimate goal is to be the best executive assistant imaginable, providing a tool that users would have created themselves if they had the time and knowledge of the Internet. They call it "mind ergonomics" for the busy executive — 20% of the most useful and critical information delivered to your desktop. We'll come back to this concept in a moment.

If you take a look at the default home page of CEOExpress.com, you will see the execution of Ipsos Media findings. I've used this information over and again to research companies and track the news. I do wonder if there will be a list of prominent blogs anywhere on this page some time soon. The lines are getting more and more blurred. I used to subscribe to the print edition of many of the publications listed here. When they shifted online, I kept up only with the ones that gave me the whole experience — design, page layout, and content.

If online means (almost) completely free everywhere these days, what does the model mean to print publications that are shifting their efforts there? How are they going about building customer authority online? See one example — a question more than a statement — in my weekly post at FC Expert blogs today. Which takes us to the definition of authority.

Twitter Last night I signed up on Twitter and was amazed to see many add me to their list of people they follow immediately. Granted, our conversation started via blogs. Twitter is a portal of a different kind, still one where we can glean news from the front lines — what we're up to, the events we attend, our travel preferences, questions about issues, etc. Yes, it borders on the mundane, yet isn't that what entertainment publications chronicle?

How are online publications going to stay relevant and useful when we are each constructing our own information portals?

Ipsos Media writes about voracious American executives. Some of you read information in more than one language and for more than one market, courtesy of online distribution.

We "track" the people we follow and those who follow us (time permitting) through many tools — blogs, social networks, etc. By and large we know who they are and what they're up to, which makes publishing with them a much richer experience. How does a publication track its online readers aside from polling them?