Why Printed Yearbooks are better than Twitter, Facebook and Other Social Media

We originally posted this blog about the staying power of printed yearbooks back in 2009, but thought we’d remind you for those who forgot =)

Luv U 4ever!

Dear Yearbook: You’re still cool. Please stay just the way you are.

By Jay Hamburg, Orlando Magazine

High school yearbooks have survived with a very strange recipe that hasn’t changed much over the decades. That recipe starts with the idea that your school contains the brightest scholars or finest athletes. Or both. Next, it puts the grandest decrees about the future alongside the silliest sayings about study hall. Toss in some photos, a bit of verse, awful puns, local ads. Then charge a hefty fee and encourage buyers to scrawl all over their new merchandise.

It’s like working nine months to build a splendid monument in the hopes it will last forever and that people will tag it with graffiti at the unveiling.

Somehow, it works.

While newspapers and magazines struggle for breath, trying to keep up with Twitter and Facebook, one of the slowest, most static and least portable of periodicals—the lumbering yearbook—just keeps plodding along.

Granted, some colleges have dropped their yearbooks and some high school annuals are declining in popularity as electronic distractions grab attention and yearbook prices top $80. But many Central Florida high schools say their sales remain steady, even in a slow economy.

Apopka High student Shana Rhodes says she and her friends enjoy social networking sites in cyberspace, but she wanted to work on the Darter yearbook precisely because it marks their rite of passage with a tangible record.

“Twitter will go away,” says Shana, 18. “But a yearbook will never perish.”

Maybe that’s part of its ongoing appeal. Lift some of today’s 400-page volumes and you sense that those hardbound, five-pound tomes will endure even as memories fade. They’ll still be around long after hard drives crash and one technology displaces another.

You can’t use big floppy disks from the 1980s with today’s computers. But you still can open up the 1924 Echo yearbook of Orlando High School and hear the Therons, Thelmas, Ottos and Lotties issue a verdict meant to distinguish themselves forever: “It is doubtful if the fair city of Orlando will ever again witness such a brilliant, generous and all-around good class.” … (for complete article, click here)

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