The rise of the kindle, e-reader and iPad, in partnership with the burgeoning blogging army, social media and online content adds serious weight to the argument for the long predicted forecast of ‘The Paperless Society’ becoming a reality. Gordon Brown has announced a suite of changes to increase efficiencies and reduce the need for printed output and, although his plans undoubtedly are more fiscal than ecological, does this pre-empt another attempt to reduce us all to a nation of screen tappers?
As I write my desk is piled high with paper, magazines, newspapers, bills, my diary, address book, business cards etc. Yes it could be tidier but that’s not the point. I don’t ‘need’ these things anymore, I have wifi and an iPhone, I can store all of my business and personal contacts in my digital address book. I can read the paper and magazines online and I already pay my bills online, so why the hard copy?
I’m sure that there’s not many dinosaurs left still printing out their emails just to read them, but I do still print some- if I’m going to a meeting for example, it’s a useful reference point and much easier to pass around the room than a laptop. Where I find a printed copy essential is if I’m proof-reading. No matter how many times I look at the screen, there is ALWAYS something that only shows up in the printed copy.
On a personal note, I can’t imagine a society without print in the form of newspapers and books and yet the predictions are already out there saying that our children will NEVER read a newspaper. Much as I’d LOVE an iPad, unless I’m forced by the monster that is technological advancement there’s no way I’m ready to eschew the sensation that is skin on ink on paper, but I wonder how long it will be before someone develops a kindle and markets is as “Just like the real thing”?
What do you think? Is the paperless society inevitable?Is it desirable? Do we have a choice?