No More Page 3 Girls

You are probably wondering where today’s post is going. (If you’re not from certain parts of the world you’re probably wondering what I’m talking about!) So let me briefly explain, first, what a Page 3 girl is and, secondly, what I’m talking about.

Back in 1969, Rubert Murdoch relaunched the Sun newspaper in the UK and put “glamour models” on Page 3. They were clothed, with a degree of suggestive reveal. Why Page 3? Because it’s the first page you see AFTER you open the newspaper. When it’s sitting on the shelf, you can’t see what’s on Page 3 – but, once you do pick it up, you can get to the glamour models pretty quickly.

(Yes, you’ve probably worked out what kind of newspaper the Sun was. If you haven’t run into the word tabloid yet, now is a good time to check it out.)

In late 1970, to celebrate the newspaper’s first anniversary, the Sun ran its first ‘nude’ model with a topless girl. And, forty years later, they’re still at it. So, that’s a Page 3 girl – but why am I talking about it?

Because our way of reading news has changed.

Newspapers, while still around, are in the process of moving to alternative delivery mechanisms. It will probably be relatively soon that we won’t have a page 3 because we have exclusively hyperlinked sources – a front page, decided by editorial committee  but strongly influenced by click monitoring and how the users explore the space. Before the Internet, stories that were to be buried could be put on page 32, between boring sports and public notices. Now, you have to saturate your users in stories and hope that they won’t find it – or be accused that you’re not reporting all stories. Of course, once people find it, they can now link directly, share, restructure and construct your own stories.

On the Internet, there are no page numbers, only connections – and the connections are mutable.

So, no more Page 3, although there will not be an end to unfortunate pop-up images of women and questionable content, and there will be no end to people trying to hide stories or manipulate links in a way that achieves the same aims as burying. But we have entered a time when we can bypass all of this and then share the information on how to get the information, without all of that getting in the way.

(And, of course, we enter a time of clickjacking, misleading searches, commercial redirection and other nonsense. Hey, I never said that the time after Page 3 girls was going to solve everything! Come back in 10 years and we’ll talk about the new possibilities.)