With the advent of the digital age, many people heaved a sigh of relief. New technologies mean freedom from cumbersome paper production, management and storage.
However, certain segments of the population will never go "paperless," and they have plenty of reasons why they will still keep some physical documents some sentimental, some a tip of the hat to etiquette and others are legal.
On many occasions, that all-in-one inkjet printer could be your best friend if you need or want a special document in hand.
You can electronically save legal documents such as leases, power of attorney papers, trusts and other things. However, if a dispute arises, there still are judges on the bench who prefer hard copies. If a seriously ill loved one is in the hospital, it is unlikely the staff wants to see anything you have got on a mobile device. Instead, that is the time to produce a written living will.
Most employers appreciate electronic resumes, but it always helps to have that same resume nicely formatted and printed on the finest paper you can get. In addition, there are times when you need such things as proof of insurance in paper form "Of course, Officer, I have it right here."
There also is the heartfelt value of certain pieces of paper.
Keeping pictures and valuable documents safely stored in digital form and possibly even in a bank vault is a wise idea. However, for many people there is nothing quite like sitting down with a physical scrapbook and looking at photos of loved ones and re-reading fading paper letters.
In addition, despite advances in technology, certain aspects of good manners remain timeless.
Peggy Post, who writes the Wedding Etiquette column in the New York Times, wrote about the issue of paper wedding invitations in her 2011 article "Going Down the Paperless Trail."
Post acknowledges that emailed invitations can be inexpensive, fast and fun, but she still has reservations about them and considers them better for informal weddings rather than a formal event.
"A wedding is considered one of life s most important occasions, and the invitation that heralds it sets the overall tone of the event to come. E-mail is regarded as a casual form of social communication," Post writes. "Many guests save their invitations as keepsakes; it s unlikely that anyone will print out and save or replay their ephemeral electronic cousins."
Post also cites the difficulties of mixing paper and paperless invitations for different guests, noting that proper etiquette calls for everyone to get an invitation at about the same time. "There is also no guarantee that your online guests will receive your invitation. Spam filters might block your invitation, or even if delivered, it might pass into the oblivion of 'You have 231 unread messages.' "
Whether it is children's original artwork, cherished programs from school plays or that first love letter from a special someone, there are some treasured items that are worth keeping on paper.
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