print vs online

amy posted this January 29th, 2009 | filed under: 2.0 fun, general, library skül, Second Life | 1 comment »


(sometimes print really is better.) cc licensed flickr photo shared by inju

CBC’s Spark (i love Nora Young!) had a recent episode discussing the value of offline formats of communication: basically, stuff printed on dead trees.

hearing about Ben Tennett’s project Things Our Friends Have Written on the Internet, where he selected blog posts and published them as a newspaper, made me think about the things that i prefer to read in print. (bias: i worked in the newsroom of a major metropolitan daily newspaper for 8 years, so i like pretty much everything about newsprint, from the smell to the inky fingers. also, i am an EXPERT at refolding a newspaper so that it looks unread. talents, i haz’em.)

thinking about my love of newsprint, i looked at all the paper on my desk: memos, catalogues, course outlines, to-do lists, and a bunch of pieces of paper which i don’t remember putting there but which have magically appeared on my desk.

  • how many of these bits and pieces could be delivered in a different format?
  • maybe more importantly, how many of these pieces of paper should be delivered in a different format?
  • would i treat them differently if they weren’t printed and in a pile on my desk?
  • with my inbox (all of them) already overflowing, do i want previously-printed items to be delivered electronically?
  • do we feel differently about things we read in print? things we read online?

while blogs serve many purposes within an organization, they can’t do it all. i worry that some of us are jumping on the blogging bandwagon because we think that it will solve all of our communication problems.

how often does your organization evaluate your communication needs and address which can be met best with online vs print information?


One Comment on “print vs online”

  1. 1 Jason Puckett said at 2:54 pm on January 30th, 2009:

    I’ve been thinking about this after listening to the audiobook version of Content (http://craphound.com/content/) by Cory Doctorow. He points out that one advantage to electronic editions is that it’s easy to make disposable (or one hopes recyclable) versions for temporary use. If I have a PDF e-book of a novel I’m reading, I could print off the next chapter, take it to the beach and not care if it got sandy or wet.


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