In Favor of Printing

I just recently bought an laserjet printer so my mind is currently on the printed word. While I espouse the benefits of technology frequently the truth of the matter is that there just isn’t a true digital alternative to pen and paper. This becomes particularly apparent when you are trying to proofread your own work on a computer monitor. Probably you’ve already been sitting in that chair, at that desk, staring at that screen for the writing of the document. Shouldn’t you get away? Shouldn’t you get up and move a little bit? While I think there are many who are able to proofread at the computer screen I’m betting that the vast majority (and this is certainly true for the students and instructors I know) simply must press *print* and take a pen to that paper for any hope of effective proofreading.

So in relation to my call to use non-digital tools and to occasionally get off of the internet I call on you to print. Take a look at your words in a physical form. Some of you will point to the tablet computer (and I grant that this paves the way for paper being less necessary) but it wasn’t ready ten years ago and it’s still not really ready now. Some others might accuse me (as a “paper-printer”) of not being concerned about the environment. I’m the only person in my program to turn in papers and assignments with old work on one side. In fact, I often rescue sheets from the bin for printing at home. At any rate, these arguments aren’t central to my main point about printing: the freedom and clarity. There’s just something about holding a piece of paper in your hand and knowing that you can cut it, fold it, write on it with anything you want, glue it, tape it, stick it to wall or a corkboard, and anything else you can imagine. There’s something tactile about paper. If my previous struggles have indicated anything at all it is that tactile is of great value. So go ahead. If the document is important enough: press *print*.

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