It’s that time of year again when excited kids walking to bus stops and squealing school bus brakes wake me up much too early, often after a long night of reading McSweeney’s online. This feels like a great time to look back fondly on my school days and how back then, I could just blame missing assignments on the beloved family dog. And I wonder, in this electronic age, what excuse will kids make now? The dog can’t eat e-homework, and that’s not the only reason we still need print communication.
When reading a computer screen, you use a certain percentage of concentration just so your eye can focus the image. If your content requires processing important information, print is better than digital because more of the brain can be used to process information and less to focus images. Another point on focus, when reading print material, readers are less likely to get distracted by a link, click, and be taken on a completely new reading adventure.
Newspapers and magazines are left on coffee tables for other readers to pick up later, or the same reader to see again. A newspaper might not last more than a day or two, but magazines can last for months or even years. With the history print media provides, readers can peruse at their own pace.
3. Study skills
Print resources are generally perceived as more credible than online sources. It takes more resources and time to produce print communication, and readers know an editor likely vetted the content. Print communication can end up on shelves in libraries or bookstores where people learn to seek out credible information. If you publish in a print publication that has been around for a long time, just being a part of that publication can add credibility to your message.
Print communication works well for targeting specific geographic areas. Do some research on zip codes, and drop your postcard in the mail. Like email, recipients must process everything coming into their mailboxes. So, if experience tells me anything, printed materials will lie on dining room tables or kitchen counters for weeks. I would not seek out the Como-Midway Monitor online, but I will read it before I recycle it when it shows up on my doorstep.
5. Physical education
Print communication is tangible and actively engages the reader. You hold it; you turn the pages. You can roll it up and tuck it under your arm. This closeness with the media creates a more personal connection to the content as well.
Reading online is defensive, a constant battle to filter out information you don’t want distracting you from your purpose. People read print in more relaxed environments when they are more open to the messages they receive. Print communication can be accessed at any time without any special tools or even electricity. It is easy to consume. Even in this electronic age, we need print communication. Passing notes is still, and always will be, a very effective means of getting in trouble in the classroom.