Monday, 5 April 2010

Celebrate International Snailpapers Day

International Snailpapers Day is on April 7 and designed to celebrate newspapers.  It is the brainchild of newspaper lover Dan Bloom of the I See By the Snailpapers blog  
Dan says International Snailpapers Day "will be an opportunity to pause for a moment, and, if not smell the roses, then at least inhale a little newsprint, before it's gone forever."
He asks: "What are your plans for the day? Main thing is this: pick up a print newspaper in whatever country we live in, buy it, read it, and then think about where we are headed, this newspaper culture we call LIFE!"

1 comment:

dan said...

Jon, thanks for this blogpost. So far nobody in the UK media will pick up this story, i have sent PR notices to Simon Hoggart, Steve Busfield, Daniel Finkelstein, Elizabeth Day, Robert McCrum, Jasper Hamill, Jack Schofield, Victor Keegan, Jonathan Freedland, nobody responds to me at all. Sometimes I think UK journos do not know there is a world outsid the UK. SMILE:

Anyways, a very nice chap, from the UK by the way, but left it long ago for warmer climes in Taiwan and now China, and married a sweet Taiwanese lass along the way, with two kids in tow now, very nice man, he writes in a column to be published after he gets a good night's sleep tonight, in his paper in Beijing, or online, this 500 word piece, read it and it's a nice follow to your blog post above:


''Before the screen swallows us, let's smell the snailpapers ''

Then he will write:

The likelihood is that if you are reading this column you are online. Though China has to some extent bucked the trend of declining newspaper circulation the bet is 20 years from now it will be the same story here as everywhere else. The daily snailpaper is on its way out.

“Snailpaper,” you say. “What’s that?”

Well, following on from the idea of calling post that is written on a piece of paper and physically carried from one destination to another, snailmail (as opposed to e-mail), we have arrived at a point in history that we must start talking about the newspaper in the past tense by giving it a new name … snailpaper.

Today, not coincidentally, is International Snailpapers Day. Since you probably don’t know what this involves, it’s the first ever after all, I will enlighten you. Right now, you should stop reading this article if you are online, log off and not get connected again for the rest of the day.

Instead, you are encouraged to pick up a newspaper, savor the feel of natural fibers, enjoy the rustling sound as you turn a page, press your nose to the newsprint and wallow in its inky tones. Savor this multi-sensory reading experience, as it fades away, like papers themselves.

International Snailpapers Day is the idea of a friend of mine, Danny Bloom, who has graduated from eking out a meager living as a newspaperman to being an even poorer blogger and occasional neologist. Based in sunny Taiwan, the sunny-natured Bloom, 61 years young, has been telling anyone who cares to listen (including Jon Slattery!) that it’s time for a new term for

“Don’t get me wrong,” he says, “I love the old-fashioned newspaper and we must do all we can to preserve it. Calling it a snailpaper might serve some small purpose, even if it is as a small historical footnote to the slow death of what we all once loved and cherished."

Bloom’s timing is uncanny because the iPad was launched this weekend in the United States and it’s expected to revolutionize reading in much the same way that Apple transformed the phone into a multi-purpose communications device, able to do anything, from shopping to being a Star Trek Phaser app.

It all sounds wonderful, of course, but Bloom and others are right to wonder where this revolution is headed. We are already immersed in screens, connected 24-7 and at a loss for what to do without these devices.

Enter stage right, Hamlet’s Blackberry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age, by media critic William Powers. Set to be published later this year, the book will make an argument against “the sacred dogma of the digital age -- the more we connect through technology, the happier we are”.

According to advance publicity from the book’s publisher, Harper Collins: “Connectedness serves us best when it's offset by its opposite, disconnectedness. There are ways to strike a healthy balance between the two”.

International Snailpaper Day is an opportunity to pause for a moment and if not smell the roses, inhale a little newsprint, before it’s gone forever.