Thursday, 17 July 2014

How important is paper?

I spend a significant amount of time discussing the value of  'paper publications' with people. It seems that for those who have grown up with computers, paper and hard copy books are no longer valued. Despite the fact that computers have opened up the world to us, there is still tremendous value for many in having specific information in one spot especially if you are older and perhaps not very tech savvy or, don't carry a computer with you wherever you go. Many older folks and even some 'relatively young' ones are still using paper. Many tell me that when it comes to researching  information on one topic (like retirement homes), they prefer it to be accessible in paper format. This is even true of professionals who, when they are not at a desk/computer, simply need a way to access information quickly. There seems to be an assumption from many younger people, that with the great volume of information online, everyone should be able to find what they need on the internet. Yet, based on the calls we get, even if relevant information is there, not everyone can find it or work with it.

I am saddened when I think about the fact that one day, libraries & book stores will no longer exist. While there are are still books and ebooks, our kids are completely dependent on short 140 character messages, social media sites and abridged information. Children in grade school no longer learn how to write in cursive - the side effect is they no longer can read it either.  While technology is giving us much, we may want to stop to consider, what it is taking away from us. If we do, we may be less inclined to discard things that gave us a deeper connection to others than our current forms of communication do.

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