It’s 2023: we live in a time where everything is becoming digitalized.
It was especially during the pandemic that technology exploded across the world, making people’s lives far more efficient than they could have imagined. Google Pay and Apple Pay allowed for quick payments straight from the phone when prompted; Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom allowed for students to communicate with their teachers and other peers while they were home from school; Google, Safari, Bing, and other search engines provided answers at a glance when something was typed in the search bar. Searches included questions that prompted answers from strangers in advice columns; social media websites such as Instagram, Twitch, YouTube, and TikTok; song lyrics, artists and songwriters; and inspiration for mood boards and aesthetics from Pinterest.
According to the World Economic Forum, media consumption has increased dramatically with increased access to social media platforms over the last 15 years — technology has become more portable and personal, making it a part of nearly everything we humans do. Instead of newspapers, we look at televisions for weather reports, current events, live news, and other announcements. We turn to social media for a look into other people’s lives, for updates on games, or simply text and talk with friends. We set up reminders on our phone that notify us when the time for an event or item comes, use alarms to wake us up, and call for rides and food delivery. However, there is always a limit to the extent of technology that should be used to replace the usage of paper. Although technology is more efficient in this period, we’re slowly losing the meaningful touch of the thoughts that we record so often in our daily lives.
In the world of paper, educators and teachers use it for lesson plans that they can take a glance at; fleeting ideas and moments of creativity can be quickly captured by pen and paper
Apart from this, as the holiday season approaches, paper and pen also enable us to better convey our appreciation for our loved ones. If we were to ask the thousands of snail mail penpals on Maarten’s Snail Mail Penpal site, paper-and-pen remains the preferred method for many to convey their thoughts and feelings for a friend, a family, or a significant other. Examples include celebrating a birthday, saying a thank you to someone who took care of you, confessing to a crush, and wishing someone well. It also gives them a chance to experiment with their creativity, their recipient’s style and how they decorate the letter or card. And it is this thought and effort that goes into the makings of a physical letter or card that makes handwritten items so much more special.
In some aspects of human life, however, technology has been considered more efficient. Now, A.I. has capabilities of writing an email, computers automatically save changes that are made to files, and information is processed and found a lot faster with a quick search on the Web. Many courthouses have switched from having a person sort out and organize case files for different trials to allowing a computer do all the strenuous work the clerk previously did with more ease. Using the words of the American Bar Association, the alternative to printing and sorting cases involved preserving them and providing the information to the judge and jury at the trials associated with those cases. This provides for an immediate availability for input into the record-keeping system of the court. The Stanley Mosk courthouse is an example of this change: a singular clerk had to organize all the files, but a computer did all the work and replaced the clerk.
There have been cases where technology has turned faulty, which led to it being removed as soon as it could. According to CNN, self-checkout stations in stores across the United States are being removed due to customer complaints and its cause of shoplifting. Another example of faulty technology includes many computers getting viruses and stopping their work because of the affected software, and with no backups, everything has to be retyped again in case that the files get lost. Without paper in the world, our lives would be difficult, as there would be no record of knowledge from the past, preserving information would be difficult, and it wouldn’t be as accessible to people who cannot afford computers, Besides, even if one were to send an email or a text message to another person, it wouldn’t be the same as giving that person something handwritten, as it doesn’t hold the same amount of emotional impact as a thoughtful gift.
Clearly, technology is a useful aid to our communication in this fast-paced world, but it should not replace everything that people appreciate and consider the small things in life. Paper and the physical aspects of items are supposedly considered more important because of the weight they hold when used for a specific purpose, and in a way, it’s a good thing for both the recipient of the handmade item and the writer or maker.