I have spent a lot of time over the past year either thinking about or having conversations on the subject of print vs. digital. There seems to be a lot of passion around this subject, so it just makes sense to me to open the conversation up and let people weigh in with their thoughts.
I want to better understand what is the best way for people in our industry to receive information and if they have a preference, why.
Digital vs. printed? Online or on my desk?
I know we in the security industry are not the only people discussing this topic, so read on and weigh in on your point of view.
Let’s face it: newspapers are going out of business, or at the very least struggling. The online community has continued to grow and you can find most anything in a few seconds with a Google search. E-readers like the Kindle and Nook and tablets like the iPad have been adopted by many folks, yet some people can’t live without having their fingers in the book and hanging out at Barnes and Noble.
Personally, since I now have a GPS, iPad and an iPhone I don’t even look at a map when I am going to a strange place; for this activity I go digital. But I would not say I am a geeky, techie person, so why has my behavior changed for this activity?
Shifting Industry Activity
In the security industry there is starting to be a shift: just look at the Sweets catalog information that is no longer being printed in those huge encyclopedic green books. All that information can now only be found online. Many architect libraries are going digital. Why? Space, cost, speed, ease of use? I have heard and participated in many of these conversations and have argued both sides depending on the type of information that is being delivered.
To this point, I can’t see the scale dramatically tipping one way or the other. We recently published a totally digital catalog for electronic products, and to date have not yet printed it. Depending on who you talk with, they either must have a printed version or simply like the online better.
I said before I prefer my iPhone to a map. And the “why” is not because I am techie or don’t like paper maps, but because with the iPhone I can get what I need easily, I don’t have to carry the map, and it gives me tons of “extras” like where to go shopping or get gas close to where I am going. So for me, my preference is based on the “extras” I get. If I can get meaningful extras from a digital catalog I would change my behavior and use it.
What would you do?
Let me know in the comments: are you touchy-feely and love a printed catalog, or are you geeky-techie and prefer the online versions? Or do you simply use whatever tool is available and make it work for you? What are the reasons for your preference?
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