Confession #2 – Paper for introductions

Once again, please forgive me.

I have used paper and must confess.  Today was the first session for our class informal introductions, in which we have each volunteered to do a couple minute presentation of our background.  In order to make the presentations a little more fun and entertaining, I had everyone write their name, their superhero power, and a fun fact on a scrap of paper, and then we drew those randomly over the course of introductions.  In the end, we had quite the little pile of papers up at the front of the room.

It was my choice to use paper.  No one made me do it.

I didn’t need to use paper for this.  We did not need a random order, did not need a fun way to introduce the next person, did not need to guess a fun fact in between each person.  But it made the session so much better, more relaxed, more fun.

I did try to minimize the impact.  I reused scrap paper that had already been printed on, and I recycled the ones that we used up today (we will need to have another session in two weeks time for the remaining introductions).  But that scrap paper could have been used elsewhere, and reuse and recycling are not my goals here, reducing is.  In that, I failed.

I also thought about if there was a way to accomplish the same goal without using paper.  Was there was a way through my ipad to do a similar thing?  I could not design a solution that was reasonably workable.

What if there is no alternative, or the value provided by the alternative is less?  I am trying to cause a technology shift, from the old technology that is paper, to the new technology that is electronic documents.  But what if there is no substitute?  What if the new technology just can’t do what the old technology can do?  Or can’t do it as well, or as quickly, or as conveniently?  In this situation, paper was the most appropriate technology to use for having my classmates quickly provide the information and use it immediately.  Not using paper would have meant giving up the style of introduction we had.

This situation makes stark an important realization:  In order for me to cause change, I will need to provide reasonable alternatives.

We will have another session in two weeks time.  I am open to suggestions for alternatives, if there are any.

Be paperless,


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