Something that has been brought up in class is the idea of electric documents replacing printed, paper documents. What a crazy idea, but yet not too far fetched. It was not long ago that everything was printed out on paper, but now it seems as though nearly everything is sent through email or can be pulled up online and filled out through the Internet. The biggest change that has impacted me is job applications. Before, you always had to walk into the place of employment, look nice and chipper, reach out to shake someone’s hand, and ask for an application. Now you can roll out of bed with your hair looking a hot mess and fill out a formal job application for a professional job without it even affecting your chances of getting hired.
Thanks to the Internet, there are all kinds of improvements being made. But are they really improvements? Or is it just another way to contribute to lazy America? Sure, filling out a job application does not seem like such a huge deal, but what about things like online classes? Some people are literally taking college classes online to receive credit. They never even have to step foot inside of a classroom or interact with a professor. This may seem great, but aren’t we eliminating one of the most important lessons that are taught in any class? Face to face interaction is being lost and people’s social skills are being flushed down the toilet! However, this is a great concept for those busy individuals that want to make a comeback and get their degree while raising a family and working a full time job. It saves the time of driving to and from class and allows you to work at whatever speed you want.
Some things still remain in paper form, however, and I do not really picture them changing soon. Some of our most important possessions are printed documents. Our drivers licenses for instance is something that we take everywhere with us and rely on to identify us when needed. Our social security cards are often essential documents that we may need for various things. Even birth certificates that are printed to prove that we exist are on paper. We cannot even enter or leave the country without that valuable little packet of printed-paper known as a passport. Our country has literally been transformed thanks to paper documents. The Declaration of Independence, possibly one of the most important documents EVER, changed the United States forever. A piece of paper did! It’s crazy to think about.
So are printed documents superior to an electronic version staring back at us on the computer screen? Sure, it is more tangible and something that we can hold and file, but electronic documents can be saved on a hard-drive for all of eternity without worrying about it getting a creased edge or coffee stain. I do not think that one is more superior to another, but I do think that it is often necessary to have that printed proof and verification of certain documents. People like to hold things. It makes it more real. I do not think that we will be eliminating paper documents anytime soon, although I can’t say that I would have ever predicted college students taking their classes from the comfort of their own beds! Do you think that computers are replacing the long lived printed document and sending it into extinction, or is the tough paper document here to stay?!