When old media beats the digital age
Posted by Sam Calvert
Online trends writer
January 26th 2011 at 10:00
Sam wonders if new media will ever replace our love affair with newspapers, magazines and books.
As I sat this morning reading the ‘best of the Daily Telegraph’ via the app on my iPad, my girlfriend trudged in to the house carrying the ‘old media’ version from her trip to the shops. This prompted a discussion about how much she liked opening the paper at the weekend and sitting down to read it over breakfast and a cup of tea, and how lazy I was that I wasn’t the one that had gone to the shops to get breakfast and the paper. Quickly steering clear of that subject, we turned to things that are better done the old ways rather than online or digitally.
Whilst there was immediately some agreement that Google beats Encyclopaedia
Brittanica Britannica hands down, that email is better than snail mail and that Facebook certainly trumps putting up flyers on lampposts when looking for a missing cat, one thing we agreed on was that it’s much better to sit down and read a magazine or a newspaper in a paper format than at a computer or on a smart phone (we decided that the iPad was only an acceptable substitute for paper if it was cold and you were a lazy layabout like I am on Sunday mornings).
The feel of paper
I subscribe to a number of magazines, of which the most I look forward to arriving each week is the ‘New Yorker’. I’ve subscribed for a few years now, and I keep every issue in case I ever want to go back and re-read one of the interesting articles about the dictator of the Sudan or the man who was hell bent on wiping out mosquitoes. I can’t even bear the thought of having my subscription online, as somehow I like the feeling of the paper in my hands, the feeling that something other than a gas bill has come through my letter flap and dare I say it, the fact that reading it unplugs me from the digital world I otherwise live in.
My girlfriend subscribes to a lot of magazines too, mostly ones about what the 4 bedrooms and ensuite bathrooms in our house could look like if only we didn’t live in a one bedroom flat, she likes them for the fact that she can cut things out and leave them lying in places where I might notice them and then tell me she has been good this year, so that’s what I’ll get her for Christmas… She also says that there’s a richness and peacefulness you get from reading the old media version you don’t get online. I tend to agree.
What does the future hold?
So as I sit here typing this post, wondering if we are forever doomed to have thousands of magazines lying around the house, some with bits cut out, others with articles about the Sudan and mosquitoes rather than the nice clean iPad versions I realise that the tangible nature of old media communication might be with us for some time yet, for the feeling of something in the post other than bills and the feeling of being unplugged still have a lot to offer our busy digital lifestyles.
Do you think new media will ever completely replace old media? Let us know below.
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