If you were to list the top 100 inventions since the dawn of man, paper would undoubtedly be somewhere on that list. Without paper, it would be hard to imagine how mankind would have shared and stored information for so many years. After all, there are only so many walls to write on. After Amazon revealed its new, lower priced line of Kindle products, the argument over whether or not paper is becoming a dead technology erupted again. So, is paper dead?
Personally, I seriously doubt we’ll be free of paper entirely anytime soon. Until modern tablets make jotting down notes or doodling as easy as it is on paper, there will be a need for it. Sure, you can write on the iPad using your finger or a special stylus that works with capacitive screens, but it never works as fluidly as a pen or pencil does when it glides across a Steno pad.
A growing number of offices consider themselves to be paperless. This term is a misnomer as many of these offices still invest a lot of money in writing pads and sticky notes. Having a physical and easily accessible surface to jot down information is an incredible resource to have at your disposal. After all, would you really leave an iPad or Android tablet laying on your coworker’s desk to let them know that they need to call that important client in Reno when they arrive? No.
This isn’t to say that paper doesn’t have an expiration date. Undoubtedly, something much more useful and cheaply available will eventually move in. The Kindle has proven that traditional paper-based publications can be replaced by an equally legible and affordable electronic alternative. Inside a single Kindle, you can store thousands of books. As anyone with a sizable home library can tell you, books make up one of the hardest things to move from place to place in your entire home. It seems harder to move the books than it does the giant bookcase they sit on. The problem is, we’re not completely there… yet.
Bottom line: putting pen or pencil to paper is one of the defining experiences of a writer, doodler, or anyone who has ever wanted to jot something down to have a physical representation of an idea. To say that paper is a dead medium is, in my opinion, akin to calling standard monitors dead in light of multi-touch displays.