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11/05/2013 at 6:06pm

Like it or not, Digital Media is here to stay.Never in My Wildest Dreams
Did I See This Coming.

With the launch of iSandPaper, our new mobile web application, this guest editorial by our publisher Bob Layfield bears repeating.

"I can clearly remember the day many years ago when an office equipment salesman stood in my office explaining the future of business communications was going be the fax machine. Being a polite Midwesterner, I did not laugh or toss him to the curb, though my inner self certainly wanted to. I could not imagine the function, purpose, need, or advantages to business communications beyond the telephone, US Mail, or UPS/Fed Ex packages.

"Fast forward to today, and I acknowledge that the salesman years ago was perhaps just ahead of his time. Now fax machines are disappearing and scanners and email have replaced many extra phone lines in offices formerly devoted to the fax. I must admit these days, I am a much quicker adoptee of personal and business technology if useful, not too time consuming to learn and affordable.

"As a result of technology, today we offer our readers and advertisers 5 different platforms of news and information, including our flagship weekly Fort Myers Beach, Florida newspaper.

"I mention this because I know many of you see us only as your local weekly newspaper.

"Our newspaper thrives today when so many are in a decline for some specific reasons. Our focus is hyper local insights into government, politics, the environment, human interest, live entertainment, local business and shopping options, the rebounding real estate market and more. Information is presented that is current and relevant to residents and visitors, normally not found elsewhere. A veteran newspaper man once told me "You should be able to read a few issues of the local newspaper, and know the current critical topics, learn generally what’s going on, and maybe even get a sense of the personality of the community” We think we achieve that each week regarding Fort Myers Beach in the Island Sand Paper.

"Our monthly Entertainment Magazine is the go-to publication for what is going on in our area. Events, activities, shopping and live entertainment are listed at no charge in our daily calendar format every month. Each month also feature the premier events in the area for that month with local events information and background. In October, Pirate Fest and Halloween are our focus. November will feature Paint the Beach and the Sand Sculpting Championships. Stories focus on the human interest side of those involved, participating, or performing. Getting to know some of these players in these significant local events always lends a personal connection that might not exist otherwise.

"Some of you have also discovered our website at Paid subscriptions get you the entire weekly issue – cover to cover – including ads, along with archives of past issues. We have 4 stories each week available at no charge including archives of every lead story and Coconut Telegraph article going back 2 years, which is more than most online newspaper versions you will find. I know you have found us because our web statistics indicate our traffic is now over 600,000 unique visitors annually. That translates to a couple of thousand of you visit the site every day to see what we have to say on things…..or see the Back Page Girl….I am not sure which. It is a true indicator of growth in digital access to information and news….not something new to anyone, but relevant because it speaks to what is going on right here and right now in our community. Some say Real Estate is dead in the print media. Not sure I agree with that one, but real estate professionals can surely connect our significant online audience with their highly developed web sites with an online ad with a link . It’s just another way to diversify a business’s online or digital reach to readers and viewers who prefer this platform.

"Most of us have suffered through trying to access certain websites that load slow or don’t format well on our smart phones or tablets. We decided that rebuilding our current website for mobile applications was not what we wanted to do, so we created our 4th platform. Our mobile web application can be found, saved, and bookmarked at The purpose of this is to be the best visitors and residents guide of local consumer information on Fort Myers Beach, for where to stay, dine, shop and things to do. This format provides free phone directory listings in each category. (If you would like your business added, please let us know) Businesses can choose to create and send an advertising message to reader’s smart phones and tablets. This message does not have the same deadline and circulation limitations that print ads can have to inform and attract customers. Thus, we believe this is excellent vehicle for Real Estate and Lodging companies to get their message to a large audience of non-locals contemplating travel or alternative home ownership. This audience may be searching online for travel, vacation home ownership or retirement relocation while in front of their fireplaces up north, weary of cold winds and deep snows. We are very positive about this product for readers and advertisers in the future. Stay tuned as we continue to populate this application with more and more information.

"The latest world we have entered as a company is "Social Media”, you know, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn. Like many of you, I have a Facebook page and don’t do anything with it. I feel I don’t have time, interest, or sense of sharing needed to keep this community conversation going. But I know I am in a growing minority with this position. New leadership internally took over our Facebook page for Island Sand Paper with our collective vision. Visit us, like us, and you will see where we are heading, with a hats off to our Facebook staff for a great start to this venture. Our goal is share and create interest in our beautiful area, the activities going on, and in our many fine local businesses. Frankly, we think our Facebook page and its information is another benefit to being part of our family of advertisers. We naturally pay more attention to our customers than other businesses, so why wouldn’t we share what they have going on? Are we selling ads or space on our Facebook page? No. Are we posting businesses direct commercial messages or ads? No. There is a host of things you will never see on our company Facebook page. This is a place to share snippets of info, and tell you where to find more. So you will see references to content in our other platforms: newspaper, magazine, website, and mobile web app. You will see beautiful photos. You will see postings to check out this or that going on. Humor, beauty, information, most of it contributed by you, right here, and right now. Got something to post on our page? Contact us directly at

"Yup, I must admit I never saw all this coming, but I can’t think of a more exciting time to be in business in our great community of Fort Myers Beach. Your feedback is welcome at".


Bob Layfield, Publisher