Thursday 25 April 2013

Internet Technology - How It Has Relaunched The Life Of A Filofaxer

Imagine it is 1994.

You are at work in a meeting and you are in a room with others much like yourself.
Professional. Organized. Directed.

As the meeting commences, you and your colleagues focus on the task at hand.
Many are writing on notepads.
A few have micro cassettes and taping.
You are surrounded by people who mean business.

In time, you casually glance over to an unfamiliar face.
They reach into their briefcase and place their Personal Leather Filofax on the desk.
They open it and start to write.
Your heart warms at your discovery.
You reach down to your bag

Case opened!

You retrieve your own binder and lay it on the table as well.
Hoping that they notice that you have one too.
But they are too engaged in their work.

You begin to write, although you really don’t need to.
You want to be seen as an organised sort of person.
You make yourself look busy with your Filofax in tow.
You try to meet the strangers glance but they never look up.

The meeting ends.

They put their binder away and leave the room before you have a chance to make a passing remark or compliment them on their diary.

A fellow Filofax user.

You have missed the moment
And feel a bit silly that you got so excited at seeing someone else with one.

You put yours away.

End of story.

Here was the life of a Filofax user only a few short decades ago.
If you ever saw someone with a Filofax out in public,
it was too awkward to go up to them to talk about their kit.
Besides, that would be a bit weird wouldn't it?

The life of a Filofaxer for many years was a solo journey.
At most, you gleamed snippets of information when you randomly stumbled across them.

A browse through a Filofax stockists shelves

a magazine article or ad on TV

the occasional stray appearance of one on the news or in a movie
(and who hasn't smiled with happiness when watching Working Girl or Taking care Of Business)

And that was it.

It was an isolated existence that you could share with very few.
It goes without saying that you personally realized from day one the enormous value of your Filofax and how it could transform your world.

But to others,

Even those close to you,

They mostly considered you to be at best, overly geeky
or at worst, a would-be yuppie.

And then

In the dawn of developing informatics and computer technology,
In our darkest hour,

A few of us set our beloved binders aside
Shelving our 6-ringed companions in favour of being just like everybody else -

We went electronic!

We entered our data
Printed our spread sheets
Squinted to read the screens.
Like blind sheep we tried to be ‘up-to-date’ and technological.
We tried to be happy
But we knew something was missing.

The world was changing.

In a few short years, we were juggling Outlook, Word, Notebooks, pagers, texting and chat rooms

Jobs launched the smartphone
Zuckerman launched Facebook
Google made it’s splash on the scene
YouTube was born.
Twitter and Instagram

And something strange began to happen.

It connected us.

Not just the world,


The Filofax people, new and old.

A few of the faithful began to put posts and blogs out into cyberspace.
Google searches led many of us to websites and twitter.
We began to see that there were others out there, all around the world who took Filofax use seriously.
We became voyeurs (in the nicest possible sense) and looked endlessly at pictures others were posting of their own organizers.
We tried to do the same – sometimes successfully!

We began to research other binders that perhaps, just perhaps were better than our own.
We began to aspire to doing different and creative things.
We posted blogs and photos and videos and Facebook comments
We discovered washi tape and purpley lives.
We embraced online buying and eBay bargains and Philofaxy.

We began to connect.


We were connected!

And what joy it has been to know that we are not alone in our love for the Filofax.

We are mostly strangers and yet we speak and write to each other as if we are family.

We are family!

We agree....

and agree to disagree.

We LOL and we share words of encouragement
From our own private homes
Our bedrooms, classrooms, cars, iPads and phones
We rejoice in the good news of others and comfort those in grief.

We are connected by the one thing that threatened to scatter and displace Filofax users forever.

The electronic world did not knock us down, but raised us up.

Some will say to you: 

“Why are you using that old method when the internet has so much to offer?”
“Surely technology has replaced that old thing?”
"That is sooo 90’s!”

And yet,

Just as the Kindle is being heralded as the modern replacement of retail of books,
It hasn’t replaced the experience books provide.

Just as email has made telegrams extinct and the art of letter-writing almost redundant,
The joy of receiving a letter or parcel in the mail and the emotions it can muster is irreplaceable.

For those of us who Filofaxed our way as lone rangers 
in the 80’s and 90’s

Regretfully rejecting our binders for technology
We are now back to our organizing roots once again

I say: At Last!

The use of Filofaxes in this present age is not superfluous
It is quality.
It is sensory.
It is relational.
It is an experience the cold and vigorous electronic age cannot provide.

Today, we do not need to wait in hope of finding someone who shares our passion for these organizers.

There are millions of us
Using both pen and ink AND technology in beautiful and organized and creative and successful ways.

The dawn of technology has not killed the Filofax,

It has provided a means to raise it on a pedestal.

To a new level.
One, the world never quite expected.

When people see us and our binder,
They stop and admire, ask questions, show praise and appreciation.
With envious eyes they may be tempted to buy one for their own use.
We supply so much information to help them – free of charge!
We tell them of the blogs and websites and the get-togethers on both Skype and in person.
We tell them of the specials, the pitfalls, the best postal rates and share our most recent haul.

We offer them advice and even give them away as gifts...

We are like that.


The Filofax Community.

No, technology has not made it's way to over take the Filofax,
it has launched it to a whole new generation and audience.

It is a discovery like some long-lost secret to some.
It is a coming-home for others.

It is a lifestyle that will never fade away.

Just today,
in a meeting,
while others laptopped and iPadded and Smartphoned and typed,
I reached into my briefcase and quietly took out my Filofax.

I opened it

the click of the clasp caught some notice.

I began to write.

My colleagues made numerous admirations and praise-filled comments...

I said nothing.
I thanked them for their kind words
Closed my binder

My smile said it all.

Case closed!


  1. Phantastic Story, thank's for that !

  2. Fabulous writing and true.

  3. So true. lovely read. To the point as always.

  4. I re-watched the "Working Girl" 'You forgot your... notebook' scene recently, and I asked myself, "I wonder if Tess upgraded to a more luxurious organiser when she started working for Mr Trask?"