Newspapers are struggling, magazines are shuttering (Gourmet and Cookie are the latest) and Kindle and company are rapidly gaining in popularity. There seems to be a trend here? A move away from print on paper in favor of electronic information, obviously. I suppose from an environmental standpoint this is progress. Less printed paper = fewer felled trees, less water and chlorine spent at paper mills and a decrease in toxic run-off from printing presses. I should be doing a happy dance, but frankly I'm pretty bummed about the demise of the paper media. I feel like digital media is so isolating. Why would I want to spend more time staring at a screen?
This is life on a typical morning at my house: my husband and I rise at 5:45, and one of us makes a pot of coffee while the other shuffles outside to look for the two newspapers under the car, in the bushes, etc. Then we both meet in the peaceful living room and read the newspapers together until 7 when the kids get up. Sometimes we don't speak during this time, but often we share tidbits or exclamations over something we've read. Or we just talk about stuff. This is our kid-free time together, and I cherish it. I also like learning what's happening in my community. Yes, we could read this same news online, but what would that look like? Me sitting at my desk, him sitting in the living room with the laptop? Hmm.
Or how about this: a friend once raved about a book he was reading, insisting I read it. "I'd lend it to you, but I can't because it's on my Kindle." Ack! There are few things that give me more pleasure than handing over one of my favorite books to someone in search of a good read. And I love being on the receiving end! "Here, read this. You will love it." Such nice words. It's about sharing, making a tangible connection with someone and the possibility of continuing the personal exchange with discussion of the book at a later date. These are unlikely interactions if half of the party is forced to go out and purchase (or borrow from the library if it's available) the book.
I fear that all of these personal devices -- the iPods, the e-readers and PDAs -- are isolating us more and more from one another. It's mine! Go get your own. The teen generation, who I suspect will suffer from severe neck problems due to always looking down at their phones and iPods, seem to be leading the charge. I know I'm kind of blathering on like an old fuddy-duddy here, but this is one of those 'green' areas I just can't embrace yet. I mourn the decline of printed newspapers and books, and I wonder how it will impact my personal relationships.
Are you feeling this, too? Do you still read the printed newspaper?