Books Tech

Knowing when to use digital versus paper

Digital technologies allow us to catch everything we hear in class. Whether through type or record, it's easy to play stenographer in the iPhone era.

The problem is that apps aren't the best thinking tools. Because using pen and paper to write is slower, it forces your brain to think about what's keeping and what to exclude.

The power in long-form is the pause.

However, the benefits of technology far outweigh the costs. We can get things done so much quicker. Imagine having to handwrite and deliver all your tweets to the post-office. Speed is power.

The ongoing challenge, therefore, is leveraging both analog and digital when we think they can be best deployed. Writes tech author Clive Thompson:

One of the great challenges of today’s digital thinking tools is knowing when not to use them and when to rely on the powers of older and slower technologies, like paper and books.

Clive Thompson


In order to write the future, we should consider the past. Making the brain wait with analog tools permits the tortoise-y mind to go deeper into the experience.

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of four books.

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