For all the talk these days about how "the world is flat" and that technology has made things like virtual offices and telecommuting easier, some are noticing that people seem to be making more of an effort than ever before to travel and meet people in person. The idea is that, like the paperless office, the predictions that anyone could work from anywhere and never have to meet in person has become something of a myth. Just as electronic communications actually created more information that was then printed out, the thinking here is that the communications revolution has actually created more contacts, both business and personal, that people need to stay in touch with. While some of that can be done online, it increases the need for travel and actually gathering in person. The article also notes that, even on a personal level, new communications technologies have made it easier to meet up in person -- such as the ability to coordinate on the fly via mobile phone, rather than working out detailed plans for getting together well in advance. Of course, the article fails to note that for all the false early predictions of the paperless office from years past, more recent reports suggest that the younger generation isn't using very much paper at all -- and may actually live up to the paperless office ideal. So, perhaps the traveling and meeting claim is equally a generational issue, and the current generation of youngsters will be perfectly happy to never meet in person.
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