Although most online advertising is dismissed on my browser thanks to the sanity-saving wonders of Adblock Plus, one ad managed to slip through that barrier, much to my amusement. It was a banner at the top of the page that read “Paper is the new internet.” The link took me to another page where I could subscribe to a print edition of what the website specialized in. What a novelty. This idea is pretty much the opposite of the current trend of paperless media consumption and suggests that perhaps there will be a resurgence of the retro, tangible form of communication that we’re moving from.
This example made me think of past innovations. What else has been deemed “useless” thanks to new technology? Vinyl albums, cassette tapes, CDs, snail mail, typewriters… All of these forms have been replaced, but there are still niches that use them. Retro fascination isn’t just for the hipsters, either. Plenty of people still love the older versions of what technology has innovated.
While books and newspapers may be potentially added to the ever-growing list of outdated media, I’m confident that there will always be an active print culture. I guess we’ll know we’ve hit the breaking point when we display our Academic Spree Day posters on flat-screen interactive panels… or as holograms.
That being said, becoming Editor-in-Chief now is a bit strange. When The Scarlet was established in 1927, I’m sure no one had any idea that journalism would be in its current state – a far-reaching, massive, interconnected thread that anyone can become attached to in one way or another. It’s got its pros and cons. Fact-checking has unfortunately become of lesser concern in the world of blogs. Virtually anyone can report on what’s going on around them. Sure it’s wonderful that the Internet makes information so accessible, but what are we doing with all of it?
While that higher web of media is growing more entangled, hopefully The Scarlet will remain what it’s always set out to be – a convenient, relevant, and interesting way to tie us together. Perhaps paper is the new internet.