11/18/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Ask a Panicked Print Media Executive

Dear Panicked Print Media Executive,
My wife and I adopted a shelter puppy from the local kennel but we're having trouble with the paper training. Do you have any advice?
--Desperate in Dallas

Dear Desperate:
After she got nailed in the last round of layoffs, Nell said I should consider farming, but what am I going to do--grow rows of sentences? Here's my advice; with print advertising as dry as the Texas panhandle you're likely to experience more luck with your little Twitter if you try to get him to crap on a website, or a text-enabled cell phone, or a Kindle. With paper now obsolete, you can paper train with my MFA degree since no one seems to care about that anymore--or my undergrad paper on Proust, since no one reads novels anymore.

Dear Panicked Print Media Executive,
I'm sure you get this question a lot, but I was at the supermarket check-out line for 12 items or less, and the woman in front of me had fifteen items. Do you think I was wrong to assault her?
--Paroled in Pensacola

Dear Paroled,
You know, I used to eat at Michaels, front of the room, with the likes of Joan Didion and David Brooks. Now I'm packing peanut butter and banana sandwiches, and shudder every time the phone rings. What happened, you ask? I'll tell you what happened, even if you didn't ask: digitization. Look it up. It will rock you to your very foundation, and put your petty, trivial concerns in perspective. And while you're perusing your online dictionary, try these terms; "disruptive technology", "disintermediation", and the one nearest though not dearest to me: "dinosaur". You might even be able to explain to me "cost-cutting efficiencies to help sustain market leverage", as my company put it.

Dear Panicked Print Media Executive,
Why do airlines make it so hard to use frequent flyer miles for flights you'd actually want to take? What's up with that?
--Grounded in Gainesville

Dear Grounded,
Your troubles are over! Apparently there's no need to travel anymore. Did you know that if Facebook (population: 300 million) were a country it would be the fifth largest in the world? Did you know that? If you did, you're probably one of those technogeeks responsible for the downfall of everything we hold dear in the Western World, like predictable business models, stable employment, and print advertising. Yes, print advertising--ever heard of it? Ask your so-called Facebook "friends' about print advertising--throw it against your wall and see what kind of ignorant crap gets spewed back in response.

Dear Panicked Print Media Executive,
My outplacement counselor says I should market myself as a brand. Do you think my brand would be enhanced if I came with lemon scent? I tried discount coupons but my husband says the coupons make my butt look fat. Thoughts?
--Branded in Buffalo

Dear Branded,
Outplacement, huh? With unemployment over 10 percent in New York there are a lot of good people out of work these days--and then there are people like you, blithely ignorant of the tectonic shifts happening right here, right now. Newspapers are folding faster than you can blink--the New York Times lost $200 million last year. Magazines will be obsolete in three years. The music industry is gasping its last breathes. The book publishing business model is unsustainable, and in the meantime $14 millions of eBooks were sold last June, more than twice as many as the previous June. Your children will be reading Great Tweets of the 21st Century in freshman English. Look up and you'll see: The sky is falling, Lady, the sky is falling; no lemon-scented umbrella will save you, since the sky, she is a-falling. Get with the program: try farming.

Dear Panicked Print Media Executive,
I'm a publisher of content in a multi-channel environment that strives to be platform agnostic, and our metrics vary from click-throughs to pay-to-play. We're striving to benchmark social media best practices, and so I'm curious to hear your perspective on the value exchange between consumer and brand.
--Techie in Tallahassee

Very funny, son. Tell your mother I'll be late for dinner--although then again the day is young, I may be home early. Carrying boxes. Filled with paper.