Monitors replacing Paper

Monitors are replacing paper. This is not a new phenomenon and has been in the works for the last 50 years, slowly luring people away from notebooks and journals. Day after day there is a new website, app or a new type of technology that can now do everything you’ve always been able to do with a pen and paper. The only difference is now you can do it using a keyboard and PC monitor.

It all started with Word Processors in the 1960’s. These processors were stand-alone office machines, much different to the likes of Microsoft Word today. These word processword pors were small, had a monochromatic display, required floppy disks to store material. It wasn’t until later that printing became commonplace, and a while longer before any spell-checking programs were introduced.[1] When Microsoft Windows came about it was definitely a game-changer in the word processing business. MW was the first word-processor to become known to many people and the “dedicated word processors eventually became museum pieces.”[1] (image [1])

Nowadays, there is a program called ‘Micosoft Office’ which is “an office suite of applications, servers, and services developed by Microsoft.”[2] This “suite” contains the following applications; Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Excel and Outlook. The suite is widely used all around the world with 1.2 billion users, over 1/5 the population of the world![3]

You can now see that over one 1/5 of the world’s population has a program on their computers that allows them to do any basic work or school-related task on their computer. These tasks can include anything from spreadsheets to essays! And be honest when you ask yourself this question; Would anyone write and essay out or draw up a graph on paper when they can do it on a computer that will correct them as they go and allow easy changes to be made if any mistakes occur? The answer is no. If you had a different answer then maybe you have too much time on your hands for assignments and should probably take up a hobby. I hear knitting is some craic. (image [4])

But it is not just everyday office workers and students who are taking more of a liking to doing most of their work on a computer. Large news and publishing companies around the world have taken to some sort of digital platform to share their content. Even though newspapers are obviously still printed out everyday and bought by many story-hungry readers, there are the likes of thejournal.ie [5] and RTÉ News- Ireland [6] in Ireland alone. On these websites’ home pages you can have a quick scan through the headlines of the day. You can also browse through the different categories of news and locations of the stories through a series of tabs located at the top of the screen. Reading the news has never been easier! And to appeal to people who may not have a particular interest in what is happening in the world, you can now follow all the news stations on twitter and like them on Facebook! You can get little snippets of news stories daily and pretend like you know what’s actually causing the whole ruckus in Syria and keep up to date with all the racist and misogynistic comments the toupée-wearing, fake-tanned American republican, Donald Trump has been saying.

In terms of publishing beginning to move towards digital media, many companies have began publishing ‘eBooks’. An eBook (A.K.A. AN electronic book) is “a book-length publication in digital form” that can be read on a “dedicated e-reader” or any “sophisticated electronic device that features a controllable viewing screen.”[7] EBooks can be read on many different types of devices by downloading one of the many eBook apps (lists of devices and apps can be found on eBook Architects). Not only are there books that you can read online, but now there is now a website called Booktrack.com dedicated to making “movie-style soundtrack[s] for eBooks”.[8] The site was introduced to me by one of my Digital Humanities lecturers, and at first though it was the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. All I could think about was how distracting it would be and how adding a soundtrack to a reading would make me zone-out and daydream up my own story. However, after reading a few sample excerpts from novels, including Bram Stoker’s Dracula’s Guest, I was pleasantly surprised by how engrossed I became with the reading just from the creepy sound effects. For someone who was once completely against the idea of eBooks, I am now considering downloading a book or two with Booktrack especially for when you need to take some time-out in a loud(ish) environment.

Now that we’ve established that people are preferring to use electronic tools for writing and expressing themselves creatively, we should ask ourselves if we think this is the right way forward. With many pros and cons associated with this revolution, such as the ease of downloading the eBooks to the limited power source and if you lose it once, lose them all according to Simplyseniors.com [9], the debate could last forever. I think to save everyone a lot of hassle and energy, you should just read in whatever way you think best works for you and leave everyone else do the same. After all, it’s not like giving trees a break from being chopped down by the millions will have any negative effects on anyone anytime soon!

References:

[1] “Word Processor – Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.” Accessed October 27, 2015. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Word_processor.

[2]  “Microsoft Office – Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.” Accessed October 28, 2015. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Office.

[3] “Microsoft by the Numbers: A collection of statistics about Microsoft products and services” Accessed October 28, 2105. https://news.microsoft.com/bythenumbers/ms_numbers.pdf

[4] “Knitting Group – CARMEL, MAINE.” Accessed October 28, 2015. http://www.townofcarmel.org/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC=%7B19B28159-5465-49FB-B936-4AB9C0CD69B6%7D.

[5] “TheJournal.ie – Read, Share and Shape the News.” Accessed October 28, 2015. http://www.thejournal.ie/.

[6] “RTÉ News – Ireland.” Accessed October 28, 2015. http://www.rte.ie/news/ireland/.

[7] “E-Book – Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.” Accessed October 28, 2015. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-book.

[8] “Booktrack.” Accessed October 28, 2015. https://www.booktrack.com/content/.

[9] “Pros and Cons of eBook Readers : Technology : Travel & Lifestyle : Simply Seniors.” Accessed October 29, 2015. http://simplyseniors.com/travel_and_lifestyle/technology/pros_and_cons_of_ebook_readers.

This entry was posted in Digital Evolution. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *