In defense of the fax machine

We’ve all heard the noise.

That noise, while archaic, doesn’t mean it’s irrelevant.

My friend Eric Stoller wrote a blog post this morning about the irrelevance of the dated fax machine. In his post, Eric suggests faxes are silly and a waste of technology. And they are.

Eric is right.

Unfortunately, not everyone else agrees. The majority of businesses around the country do not agree. We can disagree all we want, but we can’t ignore the reality of the situation.

College students have to fax things all of the time: proof of address, health records, insurance forms, student loan information.

And you know what? Fax machines are hard to find. This is a huge burden on a lot of students. It can stress the hell out of them. When students are told to fax a form immediately or be evicted from their apartment, they don’t know where to start. Why should they? WHO THE HELL HAS A FAX MACHINE?

I would counter and say we, as student affairs professionals, can provide a service. Have a fax machine in your Student Life office. Provide a fax service free of charge. Be helpful.

A fax machine may be outdated, but it’s also an opportunity to serve our students and their needs.


In defense of the fax machine

2 thoughts on “In defense of the fax machine

  1. I think it’s also important to note context. Should higher education stop using fax machines as a form of communication? Yeah, maybe.

    But in addition to the fact that it doesn’t mean other industries won’t also use them, we are constantly challenged by the fact that higher education doesn’t “just stop” doing *anything.* We are not nimble enough as an industry to make that decision, or any decision, without a whole lot of hemming, hawing, and navel-gazing. In fact, for that reason, I’m willing to bet it took us quite a while to start using them in the first place. People weren’t sure of their value, convinced they would catch on, completely aware of how they worked or why we needed them. It could take just as long for them to fade away.

    It’s a bummer that we don’t move as quickly as some of us might like. But we may just be stuck in it for a little bit.

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