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Pens are still mighty in a digital age

Discussion in 'Pens, Pencils, Notebooks, and Notebook Covers' started by oke, Dec 27, 2016.

  1. oke

    oke Loaded Pockets

    Saw an article from MarketWatch which I thought was kinda relevant (didn't think I should copy the whole text, so an excerpt follows): http://j.mp/PensStillMightyInDigitalAge

    The motivation that keeps many consumers upgrading digital technology for communication, date-saving and note-keeping can resemble the one that encourages pen users to demand a nimble mechanism, beautiful design and comfortable touch.

    And while people use pens less often these days, those who do increasingly say that when they write, they want to do it with a quality — or even luxury — tool.

    Anyway, just thought it was interesting... Thoughts?

  2. twin63

    twin63 Loaded Pockets

    Thanks for posting this. Yesterday, a co-worker and I were discussing this very topic - about writing becoming a lost art/skill and how much we still enjoy it. I've always enjoyed writing, but typically focused more on the content than the physical act. Over the past few months, I've tested some other brands of "off the shelf" pens and even splurged for some nicer ones (Retro 51, Karas Kustom, Ti2 Techliner). Now I'm finding that I enjoy the whole experience more, even if I'm just jotting down a note.

    I'll admit that I haven't embraced all of the technology that's available now. I'm not averse to it...I just don't get as much personal satisfaction from it. I guess I'm the guy in Joe Walsh's song "Analog Man" - yeah I'm an analog man in a digital world.
    Water-Rat likes this.
  3. flatline

    flatline Loaded Pockets

    We're past the point where people don't write because they can't find something functional to write with. A $0.10 pencil from the grocery store is perfectly functional and, quite frankly, better than most of the pencils of my youth. A $2 gel pen writes like a dream compared to what we had 30 years.

    Now people write because they want to write.

    Personally, I write because I enjoy it. If I need to be efficient, I'll use my computer, but if I want to take my time and just experience something, I write. Most of what I write I'll never look at again since I'm not typically interested in the results of my writing, but rather the methodical organizing of my thoughts that is required in order to have something to write. Typing doesn't have the same effect for some reason.

  4. 0dBm

    0dBm Loaded Pockets

    While more accurate, the time function on my iPhone will not replace my wrist watch.
    While more consistent, the cruise control will not replace my foot on the pedal.
    While more efficient, my computer will not replace my pen.
    While more agile and abreast of technology, my younger underlings cannot replace my lifelong experience.
  5. flatline

    flatline Loaded Pockets

    It's my understanding that the market for writing utensils gets bigger every year. My own experience is that the pen and pencil section of the grocery store carries more quality options now than 10 years ago. This seems to indicate that more writing is being done each year and that a lot of that writing is being done with at-least-slightly-better-than-disposable pens (unless folks think of a $3 pen as disposable...).

    Maybe the fraction of population that writes with enough regularity to need to replace their tools is shrinking, but with a growing population, it may be that in absolute terms, the number of writers is increasing.

  6. 0dBm

    0dBm Loaded Pockets

    The population is indeed growing partly because people are living longer and are procreating more.
  7. gazz98

    gazz98 Loaded Pockets


    I still carry a Pilot G2 gel pen ($1+) and an Office Depot brand side opening 3x5 memo book ($1). I still like to write things down the old fashion way. I also tend to draw diagrams and flowcharts for work (I work in supply chain/logistics) and sketch and doodle. My phone or laptop won't take away my pen and paper anytime soon. Thankfully, I haven't dove into the *expensive* pen hobby/world.
  8. Dirty Rod

    Dirty Rod Loaded Pockets

    Well I guess I'm that OTHER guy ...

    In my world, I often go a week or more without picking up a pen or a pencil and I can see my digital devices completely replacing my pens one day. I like to draw occasionally but writing ... .not so much. I've been in IT for 25 years and love new productivity tools so I have digital whiteboards in the office and digital notepads and digital pens at home. I don't have time to retype minutes from meetings so I'd rather just type them the first time. When my phone is close then I use voice memos when I can and really do not like a lot of papers to keep track of or a notebook to carry them. I'd rather digitize and have it whenever I need it in a device I already carry.

    That is not to say I don't understand writing and appreciate good writing instruments. I've got a huge drawer full of pens and pencils including some decent Cross sets and even an old Monte Blanc in there. Unfortunately, they pretty much just sit or I give them away to people that need them or hand them out to younger family members that are still in school. Of the probably 100+ pens and pencils in my office, this is the one that gets the majority of the use probably because it's sitting out on my desk and I thought it was different. The only other significant "writing" I do is at the range working on loads or my dopes for matches. I even made sure I got Plus scales on my SAK so I always had a pen handy but I've used that pen twice in the year I've owned it.

    Interesting that the writing population may be growing though. In my circles, I see fewer and fewer folks writing as technology moves forward. Business are still buying lots and lots of pens but many of those are monogramed and given away as gifts. Even my nieces and nephews use them less and less as they are plugging in laptops and iPads in class and doing much of the work online.

    As soon as those last few business go to online forms and/or get away from wanting a check mailed, even this little guy will probably end up in the drawer.