My parent's generation viewed office paperwork in terms of duplicate copies made by using carbon paper. Correcting mistakes was a laborious process of erasing the original, erasing the copy (messy), and then correcting the mistake.
I've been around to experience the same thing, but not for long. In graduate school I can remember writing and dictating research papers while my wife typed on an IBM Selectric with self-correcting type. We thought we were in heaven!
My first position out of graduate school came with my very own workstation, part of a network of 20 staff positions, with the wonderful world of word processing. We all used a central printer for the output. Like Henry Ford said, we could have any color we wanted as long as it was black.
Through several church staff positions, and now as a consultant, I have come to accept the digital universe as normal. I'm typing this in one of my dozens of field offices around the region (Starbucks, for appointments of 1 or 2; Panera Bread, for 3 or more). My laptop is my assistant; I carry a printer around in my 4-wheel office, along with just about anything I would need to talk with a client. I can produce anything from my files in full color, customized for the client, in minutes.
And yet, there's something gratifying about sketching an idea on a napkin (literally-I do it all the time). And I have several "theme" notebooks that I jot ideas, quotes, and the like in. Sometimes they make it into my digital files; sometimes not.
My world is a digital divide - I can't do my work without all the innovative developments of the last couple of decades, but I'm drawn to the "old-fashioned" way of writing, in ink, on paper pages.
I'm looking around at kids (anyone under 35) typing on laptops, talking on cell phones, texting on their mobile phone and wondering: Do they have this same feeling? Or are they over the digital divide, living on the next level, moving forward?
Just wondering today...