Submitted: The Two Sides Team January 21, 2013
Via BoSacks in the Twitterverse and on The Facebook Machine, Deborah Cornwho has been on the front line of the #Paperless 2013 contretemps (I suppose everything requires a # in front of it these days*)addresses concerns that the printing industry is simply whining about the whole thing:
January 17 2013
by Richard Romano, What They Think
Via BoSacks in the Twitterverse and on The Facebook Machine, Deborah Cornwho
has been on the front line of the #Paperless 2013 contretemps (I
suppose everything requires a # in front of it these days*)addresses
concerns that the printing industry is simply whining about the whole
Google isnt attacking anyone in the print, or paper
industry, for that matter. This campaign is about office paperwork. It
makes us seem like Luddites coming off so defensive!
Its not a question of being defensive or of being Luddites.
Personally, I have over the years reduced my use of paper, and not in
all cases with any kind of long thought-out deliberation. Here are just
three examples off the top of my head:
- I used to print Google Maps pages when driving to unfamiliar
locations; now an iPhone app or GPS devices get me where Im going and I
still only occasionally get lost. Nothing to do with the environment or
saving trees; its just more convenient. Also, too: the Elvis voice
that you can import into the Waze GPS app is all kind of awesome.
- When I work on print projects, I proof copy predominantly on screen
and exchange PDF proofs electronically. Have done for years. I do this
not to protect the environment, but simply because it is faster and more
convenient than overnighting or messengering hard copy proofs. Now, I do
catch more errors when I print out proofs and read the hard copy, which
may or may not be a good thing, depending on who has to make the
corrections and how amenable they are to my comma-chasing.
- Whilst I have not officially signed up for any kind of paperless
billing (I am happy to help keep some transactional printers in
business), I do access statements and invoices online and pay most bills
electronically. I do this not to save trees, but to save postage, and
to save time, as electronic bill-pay is faster and more convenient, at
least for me.
And so on. That all said, I still do use paper for a lot of purposes;
I prefer to do crossword puzzles on paper, and youll have to pry
printed books out of my cold dead hands (I really should do something
about my poor blood circulation), but I confess that, more and more
often, a lot of what I used to use paper for can be replaced by
something electronic. Again, this has nothing to do with questions or
perceptions of sustainability; its all about speed, convenience, and,
like any media choice, personal preference.
Heres an example. I am on the Board of Directors of the Saratoga Film Forum, my local art movie house (for which, by the way, I produce a bimonthly printed newsletter and
maintain the Website; we are a cross-media organization), and the other
day, several of us on the Board attended a tutorial session on the new
database program we are using to manage our mailing list and
memberships. Like most nearly 20-year-old databases, ours requires a lot
of cleaning, de-duping, removing members for whom the end credits have
rolled, so to speak, updating addresses and phone numbers, and so forth.
Some of the Board membersover a certain age (i.e., older than me; I
was the youngest person in the room, which should tell you
something )preferred to print out the database and go through hard
copies of the records looking for dupes and verifying information (We
need a few phone books, was one comment, which amused me), even though
it was demonstrated how easy it would be to clean up the records
electronically. Again, no one broached the environment, just how they
preferred to interact with content.
We all have our own media preferences, spawned from habit, comfort, and other factors.
The point is, we are not Luddites, and fighting back against Google
is not a case of whining, but of setting the record straight, of
If it matters to you that auto makers cant make up how
many miles per gallon their cars get and slap it into ads, or that
cosmetic companies cant make claims and then use retouching to show
results, or that airlines now have to include all of their hidden fees
in pricing, this situation is no different, and there are laws against
Exactly. Its about truth in advertising, if nothing else. There are
myriad reasons to not use print, just as, yes, there are myriad reasons to use print. Lets just be clear about what those real reasons are.
* From the Going Green Font of Useless Knowledge (so to speak): what
is now called a hashtag and is also referred to as the pound sign
(except in Britain, where, obviously, that would be £), and in the dim
and distant past was called the number sign, has also been called an
octothorpe or, variously, octatherp, the latter of which is
supposedly the proper spelling, at least if telephone patent documents
constitute any etymological authority. Supposedly,
the use of the word octothorpe (et al.) to refer to this thingey (#)
was coined as a joke by Bell Labs engineers at the same time the
asterisk (*) was referred to as a sextile. We thought youd like to