With so much virtual ‘reality’ why do we want or need the ‘old’ world?
Do you find that touching or holding a document, photograph, an object, even a person is reassuring?
Twice recently I have been at events for which I was sent an e-ticket that could be scanned on my mobile phone. There was no need to print it yet many people around me had done so. One told me: “I feel more comfortable with a piece of paper in my hand.”
It is not simply a Generation X versus Generation Y difference. Teenagers say that they prefer to have a printed gig ticket given the option. It is a tangible symbol of ownership that they find more satisfying, even if they are more comfortable than their parents with the virtual world where so much of ‘reality’ is behind a screen whether it is a photo or document on a mobile phone or a friend on Skype via a laptop.
It is not just some greater reassurance and satisfaction that the tangible gives us over the virtual. There is sometimes practicality. Take photographs. While computers and back-up can store them safely forever and can send them worldwide instantly, crowding around a computer is less comfortable and sociable for a family or friends than sitting around a table passing them round.
It is the same with vouchers and giftcards. With interest in Gift Card and Voucher Week 2012 Vouchergiftcard gaining momentum, we should remember that that while most people are now comfortable with plastic cards and mobile or e-vouchers that can be scanned, traditional paper vouchers are still highly popular as they have a “trophy” value and make a greater impact when handed over as a gift or reward especially at a presentation.
In the giftcard and voucher world, like in the world as a whole, the ‘old’ and new worlds each have their own strengths and assets that meet the needs of people of all ages and so it is clear that we shall need both versions of reality for many years to come.