I’m not what you would call a technology trend spotter. Back in the early 1990s when debit cards were first introduced I was convinced that they were a dumb idea that no one would ever use. Apparently I was wrong.
A decade later people started talking about creating a paperless society – one in which paper would become old technology replaced by a digital format. While on behalf of trees everywhere I applauded that vision, I still doubted it would actually happen. I like paper. I inherited that preference from my father who had a healthy obsession with stationery stores. I grew up with the Eatons and Sears catalogues which provided hours of wishing and dreaming about cool stuff that I might have one day.
I rebel a bit against the paperless world. I like the feel of a book in my hands. I detest e-cards. I still print my boarding pass when I travel. And yes I read a print copy of the newspaper in the morning with my cup of coffee.
My kids call me old school. They grew up in the midst of the technology revolution meaning a digital version of everything makes sense to them. That’s not to say there are not some paper things I am willing to give up – phone books seem like dinosaurs even to me. While we may be far more paperless than we were 30 years ago, it seems like there is still a large percentage of people who, like me, still like paper.
Which brings me to a little confession.
I admit it. Recently I’ve been seduced to the dark side. I discovered Next Issue – a digital magazine library that gives me access to 140 magazines for a low monthly fee. Think of it as Netflix for the newsstand. I was pretty skeptical in the beginning telling myself, “You are not really going to like this,” but I was wrong. It’s cheap, it saves a lot of trees and it makes travelling a whole lot easier. I’m reading all kinds of magazines I’ve never read before.
I’m not giving up paper books any time soon. But it does make me wonder how long it will be before digital completely replaces print. Back in 1981 the Buggles pronounced that video killed the radio star. In launching the first MTV video, they sent a message that radio was the past and video was the way of the future. Their song cautioned us about the impact of technology. It’s still a relevant conversation 35 years later.
What do you think?