The other day I came home from dropping my kids off at school and found a nice bundle of something, all tied up in a plastic bag, sitting on my doorstep. I wondered what it was while being annoyed at another wasted plastic shopping bag.
When I opened it up, I found not one, but four thick books of yellow and white pages. Now I was not only annoyed about the shopping bag, but I kept thinking it was such a waste of paper. I couldn’t believe that these things are still in print. I mean seriously, in the day of the Internet, does anyone really use the phonebook anymore? They are about as antiquated as a pay phone.
It got me thinking about all the other things that have sort of gone by the wayside. It used to be that you’d never be able to find a plumber without letting your fingers do the walking, but now it only takes a quick Google search to find a plumber anywhere in the world.
Here are a few other things that I find following the path of the phonebook:
- Desk phones – With the exception of dialing in for a conference call, I never use my landline phone for work. If I need to talk to someone, I email or IM.
- Notes – I used to take handwritten notes during my meetings to keep track of what we discussed. Now I do it electronically with tools like Evernote.
- Faxing – My printer/copier is also a fax machine, but I don’t think I’ve used it once in the three years I’ve had it. If I have to turn in a form with an actual signature, I’m all about scanning and emailing.
- Printing documents for a meeting – Before the advent of web conferencing, I would sit on audio conference calls with a printed slide deck, trying to follow the speaker and keep track of which page he was on. Now with online meetings, everyone can follow along and save some paper in the process.
These are just a few things that quickly came to mind. I know there are more, but they are so part of my normal routine, I can’t even remember what life was like before them. What else has gone the way of my phonebooks (which is into the recycling bin)?