They’re typing on their iPads, they’re tapping out text messages on their phones, they’re reading the clear type on this site and others. Not only is technology ubiquitous, but it’s bulldozing handwriting as a form of communication.
It’s appalling that one in three respondents to a survey commissioned by Docmail had not penned anything within the past six months. On average, they had not touched a pen and paper for nearly a month and a half. Pens are starting to disappear except when a signature is needed.
The Managing Director for Docmail, Dave Broadway, said “It’s a shame handwriting is in general decline, but that’s come about from the need for convenience and communication that is clear and quick. People by habit will always look for shortcuts or to make their life easier, and that’s the reason technology is so prominent in our everyday lives. What will always be of importance is the quality of what we’re communicating and how we convey ourselves.”
Four in ten respondents from the same study said that they are regularly using texting or ‘text talk’ to speak. We can only assume that the percentage has gone up in the four years since the study. “Technology puts everyone on a level playing field when it comes to the ability to communicate clearly.”
While technology is competing with handwriting for supremacy, handwriting has many benefits.
- When Mother Nature strikes and there’s no electricity, you can still put pen to paper and talk about your innermost thoughts.
- There are cognitive benefits to actively shaping the letters rather than simply typing them. Young students learn communication skills more effectively.
- Handwriting, especially in cursive, is elegant and beautiful. It is more individual and more flexible than using technology to write, despite what your emoji skills might make you think.
- And, even though there is a propensity toward technology because it is easier to use, the technology route robs people of cognitive abilities.
“Compared with those who type their notes, people who write them out in longhand appear to learn better, retain information longer, and more readily grasp new ideas, according to experiments by other researchers who also compared note-taking techniques.” These are researchers at Princeton University and the University of California at Los Angeles.
The war between technology and older ways started because technology provides the end result faster, but you have to ask yourself what cost there is behind switching over to the phones, laptops, and other electronic equipment to take notes.
Are the kids losing their way because they aren’t being taught how to appropriately use a leather journal and write? Is the writing that they do even legible? Is the art of putting pen to paper truly becoming lost, or is it, like other technologies, simply evolving?
To fight against the takeover of technology, all you have to do is start writing. Hand write a little bit each day to demonstrate that you’re interested in ‘keeping the code’ of handwriting. Write in those leather journals, write out your thoughts in your notebooks, and let your hands ache… because you’re winning the war.