I’ve noticed a funny thing over the last five years or so: paper is making a comeback. Go to a meeting just about anywhere, and you’re more likely to see paper notebooks than digital ones, especially among the primary participants in the meeting.
Some suggest that its anti-technology backlash, but I don’t think that’s the case. My theory is that with the ubiquity of wireless data connections, there is no way for a meeting notetaker to convince everyone else in the meeting that he is not looking at Facebook or surfing the web – paper is the only way to communicate to other attendees that I’m really paying attention.
One other interesting result of the trend is that people who do use devices for note-taking tend to go out of their way to signal to others that they are not using the devices for other purposes. Watch how many comments there are, from “Can you say that again so I can capture it here?” to the more explicit “I just want everyone to know I have wifi turned off and am just using the laptop to take notes.”
One beneficiary of the trend is a company called Moleskine which is doing very well in tech circles, selling (gasp) paper to the digerati.
Pay attention at the meetings you attend over the next month – is there more or less paper than there used to be?