If I wrote this by hand, I couldn’t read it

Published 12:46 am Wednesday, July 31, 2013

“Is technology ruining handwriting?” is what the article was titled.

A glance at my reporter’s notebook, and I responded in my head with a resounding, “YES!”

Technology is constantly increasing communication speeds, often anticipating words before our brains can send signals to our fingers. But experts say handwriting is being sacrificed for the sake of technology’s convenience because of it. Most people – myself included – say they communicate so much via laptops, phones and tablets that they rarely need to scribble a handwritten note.

And I hate that. I used to have such beautiful handwriting. No joke. You’d never guess it to look at my notes now, but it’s true.

I’ve rebelled against taping my interviews, and then transcribing them. I think it’s too much work. I use the recorder as a back-up method in case I leave my notebook in the restaurant or one of those places I’m known to roam.

A 2012 study by UK-based printing and mailing company Docmail found that 33 percent of people had difficulty reading their own handwriting. The group conducted the study and concluded that one in three participants had not been required to produce something in handwriting for more than half a year. It also found that updating calendars, phone books and reminder notes was more likely to be completed without using a pen. Finally, more than half of participants said their handwriting was noticeably declining.

The state of handwriting in the United States, which ironically celebrates National Handwriting Day every Jan. 23 – John Hancock’s birthday – is not much better, according to comments in an CNN article that quoted Wendy Carlson, a handwriting expert and forensic document examiner. Carlson works as an expert court witness, maintaining offices in Denver and Dallas. She says the dramatic decline of handwriting is causing “great” deterioration of the mind.

“Texting played a role in it because people are trying to write quick short sentences,” she told the news organization. “People aren’t using their minds and they are relying on technology to make the decisions for them.”

Well, that doesn’t bode well for future generations.

I’m not sure that there is anything we can do to stop the trend, either.

I say that because a recent discussion in at the paper talked about practical applications for using iPads in reporting, thereby virtually eliminating the need for a pen and paper. Crazy, isn’t it?