They get together for a drink and dinner after work. All six women place their phones in a stack in the middle of the table. If anyone grabs their phone before the evening is over … they buy dinner. Imagine how much they might actually talk to each other! Well, my millennial daughter reported doing that with her friends. It is brilliant. Too many of us are addicted to our technology … including me.
We have clients who report destroying their precious family time by checking email and text messages … or worse … answering phone calls during dinner. Clients who have chosen to put their phones on mute until after their children have gone to bed have reported being more relaxed, better parents, and they still get their jobs done. Clearly there is a conflict with our obsessive use of digital devices and a sane life.
David Sax’s new book “The Revenge of Analog” tells several stories of the younger generation abandoning digital and embracing analog in several areas. It turns out that it’s more than nostalgia. Studies have found that doing creative work on paper first can be a more creative process than starting with digital tools. Digital tools tend to pull people into detail too quickly, rather than building out the concepts first.
Leather bound blank books are back in style. Moleskine binders come in many styles and are in high demand. Handwriting reportedly increases retention, more so than typing. Moleskine even has a partnership with Evernote that allows you to easily scan your hand- written notes into you computer, or the cloud. I knew there had to be a catch.
A bit of nostalgia and good business has brought vinyl records back into high demand. Vinyl has the highest profit margin, is growing the fastest, and is reigniting the manufacture of turntables (remember those?). High quality paper magazines and camera film are also finding new and profitable markets.
I listened to a radio show that was responding to listener feedback. The sound effect they used was a manual typewriter, complete with the bell at the end of the line. I thought to myself that half of the audience would not even recognize what the sound was. It has been a long time since I disposed of my IBM Selectric typewriter. I certainly would not use it for my blog. But, it served it’s purpose and there are still a few authors who find it their tool of choice.
Like so many similar books, Sax tends to press his case a little too hard for my taste. However, he is definitely raising important issues, and he is raising the key question about whether something should be digitized just because it can be digitized. He has interesting stories. He shares some examples that inform the questions that we should be asking, and he challenges assumptions that may not meet the test of time. It is a book that’s worth the read … or the listen … if you like digitized audio books.