Sunday, January 9, 2011

Don't look a gift horse on the Web

From 7:30-8:45 or so this morning I drank coffee, ate pancakes, and read the online version of The Boston Globe.

I "liked" one story about a recent philanthropic gift made by a Boston gazillionnaire. My tweeted commentary on this story was retweeted twice. I tweeted another story from the same online version of the paper, which has led to two separate, albeit short, twitter dialogues. I emailed yet a third story to a friend.

About 15 minutes after I wrapped up the quiet online review of the Sunday paper, I was outside brushing snow off my car so I could make a run to the gym for a quick workout. A car came around the bend of my sleepy street and slowed down in front of my house. I have a 1/2 a kayak on the lawn, waiting for trash day later in the week. I thought the driving was a garbage picker. As his window came down I thought for sure the driver would ask me some questions about the storm-battered boat.

"Is this (insert my address here)?" the driver asked.
"Yes," I answered slowly and suspiciously.
"The Boston Globe would like to give you a free copy of the paper," he said, handing a waterproof package to me.
"Is this because I've been tweeting stories all morning long?" I asked, my suspicion changing to glee.
"Don't know," he replied, "but the free paper lasts until the 23rd. Congrats and enjoy."

Then he drove away.


Now I'm not sure there is any correlation between my high use of social networking tools this morning and the free paper.

If there is it seems like a weird incentive. If I'm a high e-user of the paper, and I get a free print copy of the paper, my e-use is likely to go down, at least for the two weeks I get the hard copy delivered to my home. Maybe a better gift would be a free link to my blog or a free copy of The Boston Globe app in the Apple store.

Nevertheless, I am delighted with my free paper. I had actually intended to buy the paper today, so I could enjoy the magazine and the puzzle. About half-way through my e-browsing I remembered this with a Homer Simpson-like "D'oh!"

Now, home from the gym and freshly showered, I'm looking forward to brewing another cup of coffee and enjoying The Boston Globe Magazine. Thank you @bostonupdate.

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