Books, TV, Newspapers and Directories- Dead or dying as information sources?

A past blog of mine got me thinking and realising something that may be obvious but I still feel worth highlighting?

Early in my career, there was a lot of fuss about the paperless office… but it never came.  Indeed PCs & printers have enabled us to generate far more ‘information’ and consume far more trees than ever before.

The question I’m now asking myself is – Are our teenagers now finally leading us through a cultural shift not to the paperless office but to the paperless world?

Clearly I’m not seriously proposing NO paper at all, but when I think about that teenager’s article and think about my own children, I realise that they don’t use directories (and in fact neither do I), they don’t research using books (and neither do I), they don’t learn from TV, they use the internet – even for video and they don’t read newspapers (I still do – but why?).

And my conclusion is:  Even I don’t use paper based materials for information – I do still read books – but not to find out information – more for entertainment and broadening my knowledge into areas I didn’t know about and would not have researched, and I use newspapers in the same way.  I get my fresh news from my phone or the web.  I read papers because its pleasurable and gives me a background education… not information.

So here’s my hypothesis:

Paper and other broadcast tools such as TV are rapidly reducing in significance as sources of information… and becoming solely sources of entertainment and broad education.

To me this has important ramifications for content producers – from PR agencies, authors and journalists to directory collators and reference material producers, and their suppliers.  Anyone want to invest in a press to print yellow pages and other similar directories?

Written by Bob Bradley, founder of MD2MD

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