Paper and (i)Pad

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Yes.  The world has changed a lot since 1956 when I was born. I grew up with a manual typewriter and Slicker lipstick.  I shopped at the corner store (and the term “big box” only referred to things made of cardboard).

Many business owners are struggling with the many changes that have happened so rapidly over the past five decades.  Social media seems to have thrown my generation into something of a tizzy and the recession has added a one-two punch to the confusion, as small and local businesses struggle to learn new rules.

In this column, I’ll be covering things (objects, businesses, retailers, services, traditions) that have withstood the test of time, although many of them now exist in new forms.

The local newspaper (like this one) is a great first example.  Although many of us (millions in fact) have Kindles and other e-readers, the good old fashioned newspaper and magazine still has life in it.  Among the experiences that can’t be replaced by an iPad:

  • Grabbing a community paper outside the local coffee shop and leafing through it to see if you recognize a friend or neighbor.
  • Cutting out an article to send to a relative.  (I contend that these clippings keep my 83-year old techno-phobe mother vibrant and connected.)
  • Hanging an article on the wall, to share an accomplishment with co-workers.
  • The comforting smudge of newsprint on ones fingers…a badge that indicates, “I still know how to read and I enjoy it!”

But of course, the immediate gratification, the ubiquity, and the wide range of content of e-books are among their many assets.  The world needs both – paper and devices.  Reading is essential to keeping us thinking and connected – no matter how we do it.

Next week, I’ll be visiting the local hardware store – where I’m bound to find lots of items that have stayed the same, morphed, and been replaced by newer-fangled models.  But the things that are truly good and useful will always live on…albeit in different forms.

Is there something you miss?  A change you’ve been ruminating about?  Contact me at nancys@theonswitch.com (or mail me a letter).  I’ll happily entertain ideas for future columns!

Nancy A. Shenker has lived in Westchester for 22 years (40% of her life).  Her business, theONswitch, located in Yonkers, combines traditional time-tested marketing strategies with new media. She works with businesses nationally (and, thanks to technology, can sometimes even work in her pajamas).  She is also the CEO of a new publishing venture, nunumedia and just launched a series of business comic books.

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