Wednesday, February 23, 2011

As Digital Grows, the Personal Touch Slows

A Picture of a eBookImage via Wikipedia
 by Jean Purcell

The rap says, "As digital grows, info flows, and the personal touch goes."

It would take a while to list the many digital gadgets that we use, buy, or think about. We use them to talk, write and exchange information with each other. We write across the world or across a room...digitally! We do, you know, sometimes e-mail when we're in the same space! Never done that, but I hear it happens!
     Rupert Murdoch's digital news team and Apple's iPAD team announced and launched The Daily, the first-ever daily news service, exclusively for iPAD users, at a cost of 14 cents a day.
     I have Kindle on my Android, though I read via Kindle only when desperate not to wake my husband up by keeping a reading light on. (He tells me he doesn't mind the sound of pages turning at two in the morning. He's a great guy!)

Now I wonder if I want an iPAD primarily to become part of this expansive development for news and information. I have learned that most young people never read a print newspaper; they get their news online. For them, the iPAD development will be tempting.
   What is missing has finally fallen into place for me, a matter that I could not latch onto when looking for it with Kindle:
     It's not only that the gadgets remove a "regular" book, although I do miss the touch of paper and its rustle when turning pages. It's not that the print is on a smaller platform than most "regular" books are. 
  What's missing is... the personal touch. I can return to my e-book anytime during any day, at my leisure or time ability. The same goes for e-news. It's there for...? For me and only me! But...I not only like the touch and feel of "regular" books. I like and embrace the irreplaceable personal touch that comes from sharing titles--giving, lending, or borrowing them in hard cover or paperback. 
     With newsprint, I often pass parts along. I cut out articles to put on my husband's desk or I clip something to send to a daughter, grandson, or a friend...not often, yes, but when I do I feel more in touch, personally...because of the personal touch, the time put into that kind of sharing that way rather than the easier, digital way. 
     Is that weird? Not to me, although it is a fading practice that others also lament losing. I know how I feel on the rare occasion when personal mail with a note or a clipping comes from a relative or friend.

I would not likely pass my Kindle or Nook gadget to another person to borrow for a while! I cannot leave a part of my e-news with a friend, either, except by a link...which would work. However, it's all on my gadget. It's all for me, to take anywhere I go, to read and enjoy anywhere, but not so much to share
     Not to have that enjoyment of handing a book to a friend, or giving it and looking at it together, as happened at Christmas with my grandsons...that would be a loss, personally. 
     If we pass around a gadget, we know one of us will need it back. We cannot keep it for a while, to enjoy, to share, to return or keep. 
     But a book? It's transferable in special ways, between us!

Think about how much the personal and the face-to-face encounters are dwindling due to digitized living. Think about how we can reverse much of this!
     I opine: we should!

Note: To those who read this blog post earlier, thanks for bearing with me. I had to go out of town suddenly, and this posted  before I finished and spell-checked. Now it's done.

(c) 2011
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