Entering a digital world

Jack DeMaio
Staff Writer

Every year new technologies emerge with the intent of making our lives easier. Social networking sites seem to dominate everyone’s phone screens, and tablets like the Kindle allow procurement to an entire virtual library of books and articles. Sure, these technologies make public access to an impressive collection of nearly all human knowledge convenient (preferably spent viewing pictures of cats), but how does it compare with the paper equivalent?
As more and more resources are transferred to the phones in our pockets, an element of comprehension is lost. What was once tentatively written in graphite or ink seems to be set in the stone of our massive public database. We are approaching a more digitized world, and there’s simply no doubt about that. But paper counterparts will never cease as a medium of expressed thought.
bookthingBooks of any kind are formatted in a particular way. With four corners of information printed on a paper exhibition the flow of ideas comes rather easily. The reader can go back and forth between pages and freely mark up the lettered environment as they see fit. Readers have utmost control over the information they’re taking in. Having a tangible book in hand allows a much fuller sense of comprehension and clarity.
E-books and E-readers alike are making great progress in terms of popularity, but such pixelated mediums don’t provide the easy-working and versatile advantages that paper books do. When we read, it’s undeniable that our purpose of doing so is to understand the material. We want to know why and how Charlie got into the Chocolate factory, or how many shades of grey are too much. We read for comprehension and understanding. If that’s taken away from us, then a deadly blow is dealt to the purpose of reading altogether.
Aside from understanding what you read, access to such information plays a key role. It may seem as though the digital mediums throw their foot in the door at the very mentioning of accessibility. Navigating the internet to find worthy information is definitely not a difficult task. The problem, however, arises once reliability is factored in. Anything can be uploaded and passed off as trustworthy on the internet. There tends to not be any kind of filtering of content. With physical books, they’re published and in most cases reviewed before any kind of mass distribution.
There’s no doubt an increasingly digitized world is barreling our direction. Providing convenience and security, it’s evident that electronic mediums of text do have their advantages. But do the means justify the ends? Critical understanding and clarity is lost when taking in information from a phone screen or computer monitor. In most cases, comprehension is the sole purpose of reading in the first place, and frankly, it isn’t worth the sacrifice for convenience. Despite our inherent need to continue progressing technologically, it’s sometimes best to keep it simple.