Sunday, February 10, 2008

the one-armed paper hanger's new job

I'm in the process of downsizing a large house with a goal of literally reducing my home's footprint--and eradicating paper's the key, I've found. So phone books, lists, books and files are on their way out, replaced by online resources, an e-book reader, computer files and PDA list managers. Today's New York Times looks at the metrics for reducing paper in the home and finds that per-person paper consumption is down, demand for scanners and other services to convert paper to bytes is up, and consumers and businesses are developing systems that move paper out of the home or office as quickly as it comes in. And I see a nexus between this trend and the as-yet untapped availability of new and social media for communicating your organization's messages. While many organizations are struggling with holding on to paper communications, others have replaced paper in these creative ways:
  • using blogs to replace newsletters, news releases, donor communications and even reader/subscriber/customer mail;
  • putting Facebook and MySpace to work as membership directories, "yearbooks" for alumni of special classes or workplace programs, and fundraising drives;
  • email newsletters as invitations, news releases, and even-more-direct-mail with higher open rates and the ability to drive traffic around your web presence;
  • web-based press rooms and blogs to give reporters fast and even access to quickly changing documents and source updates, particularly for annual conferences and events;
What are you still printing on paper? Annual reports, magazines, newsletters and letters still have a strong presence for many organizations' communications departments. We'd love to hear where you're choosing to use paper and why--or to help you conduct a communications audit and plan ways to replace paper communications tools with more effective and efficient online and electronic options.

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