Growing up in the 90’s, I remember opening our front door every morning and retrieving a bright blue plastic bag from my front step (or occasionally the driveway, garden, or gutter depending on the dexterity, height, bike speed, and mood of the paper boy). I’d deliver the bag to my Mom and Dad and marvel at the sophistication as they swapped sections of the D&C over their morning coffee.
Jump ahead a decade to the college years. When I was an undergrad between 2008-2012, digital versions of textbooks were not typically available as an option for students. I recall several music courses with CD’s in little plastic sleeves on the inside cover, and plenty of courses that called for responses to online content, or to find online resources we thought were applicable to the project or valuable for future students, but textbooks and additional materials were almost always printed pieces of paper. Sometimes my professors even required a “hard copy” of an assignment in addition to submitting it online.
There’s a degree of anonymity with digital engagement that isn’t the same on paper (literally). The guise provided by the digital age allows users to pull information from innumerable sources, often making it unclear from whence the idea, information, or thought came. Here’s a brief litany of reasons why, as a millennial, I will always prefer print.
Perks of print:
- When I come home and see the bookshelf in my living room full of plays, fiction, biographies, old text books (oops) and “next on the list” items, I feel how I imagine a seasoned athlete feels when she enters a room full of hard-earned trophies: reverent and accomplished. A long list of titles inside an iPhone app doesn’t exactly induce a similar feeling.
- My retinas don’t writhe after hours of reading printed text on a page the way they do after spending hours in front of a glowing screen.
- Pictures in frames on walls
- Being reminded of how hard you worked every time you enter the kitchen and see that A+ smiling at you from behind a magnet on the fridge
- Falling asleep reading printed text is a peaceful and relaxing way to end your day and doesn’t leave you seeing little rainbow outlines of screens every time you close your eyes.
- There’s something incomparably satisfying about looking at a book and taking note of how much progress you’ve made and how much you have left to go based on the placement of your bookmark
- True, brilliant, un-distorted colors
- Digital media changes by the second. Internetlivestats.com claims that 350,000 Tweets are posted every minute. Every minute?! I’m overwhelmed just hearing that figure, let alone trying to keep up with the influx of information. Print is permanent.
- Information shared via printed material feels more valuable because it’ll last longer and it’s tangible. If I can hold it in my hand, I know it’s real.
As with any new technology, subjectivity abounds. There are certainly valid arguments to be made by digital advocates, and I invite those arguments whenever I can. But until my PC’s touch screen smells like the pages of my 1975 copy of To Kill A Mockingbird, this millennial is sticking to print.
by Emily Putnam, PR & Social Media Manager at Dresden Public Relations