Will Handwriting Survive in the Digital Era?

It didn’t start with a pen, but a reed with a brush at the tip, and it didn’t start with ink, but a mixture of soot, water and vegetable gum. There definitely was a piece of papyrus. Around 2400 BC, Egyptian culture bestowed upon the world a great gift: the ability to write on paper.

From the first Egyptian pictograph to the modern day sticky note, a recent study suggests that the preferred form of conveying ideas, especially in the business world, continues to be the handwritten word. With a myriad of technological advances in communication at our fingertips, will handwriting persist and does it possess any unique qualities?

There’s no arguing that laptops, iPads and smart phones enable us to communicate instantly. Surprisingly, according to a study conducted by Forrester Research, 87 percent of business professionals still use handwritten notes in addition to digital media. The study concludes that by integrating handwritten notes with digital communication, workflow and overall productivity increases dramatically. Think to-do lists.

One reason behind this has existed since the first pictograph. A person’s handwriting is just as unique and individual as their fingerprint. Derived from the Greek grapho meaning “writing” and logos meaning “word,” graphology is the study of handwriting, especially when regarded as an expression of the writer’s character, personality and abilities. While many consider graphology pseudoscientific, the “personal” quality of the handwritten word indisputably conveys a different type of information, a written equivalent to tone of voice in conversation. A more respected term for the study of handwriting is graphemics.

Handwriting also has benefits for the writer.  Researchers believe that the simple act of constructing the letters and forming words and symbols on paper increases our ability to recall information. Whether or not composition on a digital device has similar benefits is an open question.

Find out how keeping a daily log (call it a diary or a journal), is proven to improve your productivity, here.

Do you find yourself using handwriting less frequently as digital devices become more common? If you take notes on your computer, can you memorize facts as effectively as copying them by hand? Let us know, below.

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