I take it for granted my generation has grown up with several different ways to listen to music; record players, cassette tapes, CD’s, MP3 and now MP4 players. I also take it for granted that music, like art was a way to communicate through visual or audible language to convey one’s emotions or feelings. With the onset of new technology, I’ve realized I’ve taken for granted the experiences that we grew up with.
In taking these things for granted I started thinking more about what would happen if all the electricity in the world just went out at the same time. How would we listen to music? Everything would suddenly have to be seen live again just to hear or see it. Suddenly singers would actually have to have real talent and no auto tuning. Then I started thinking how no electricity would mean no more e-books, a surge in library check outs, people learning how to use the card catalogue system and everyone getting familiar with dewey decimal in an old school fashion. No electricity would mean no more annoying cell phones going off during a class, a therapy session or even in a public restroom. No electricity means the annoying manager of a car dealership won’t be interrupting your interaction with one of his salesmen to show him their co-worker’s latest facebook update on his cell phone. No electricity would mean the battery in his cell phone would be long dead before having to feign insensitive interest about their co-worker calling your salesperson “chubby” to the rest of the world.
As someone who grew up not needing or having a cell phone, I suddenly quit worrying about the world losing electricity, and smiled. I smiled at the thought of no longer having to be annoyed when going out with a large group of people, (or on a date) where the people (or date) are more engaged with their smart phones than those they are with.
I recently saw an ad where a woman was talking up the qualities of a new cell phone when she was comparing the interaction with the person on the other side of the phone as to them actually standing right next to her. Unless you’re a germ-a-phobe, this doesn’t really seem like the most appropriate way to go on a date with someone. (There are some circumstances that allow, like living an ocean apart, or the person is away on leave.) However, it confuses me how people who live in the same town still see that as an intimate connection, even talking on the phone is better than living a relationship out through text. It leads me to have concerns for my friends who want to forge connections with others but don’t realize what they’re missing out on when its not played out in real time.
There was recently a news piece done on how there is a social disconnect in today’s youth because most connections and relationships are carried out online. The point they were trying to make is no one really knows how to interact with each other face to face anymore. Everyone has become used to interaction being distant and intangible.
Strangely though at the same time, with relationships being distant and intangible, there is this ever growing need to have everything right now, whether it’s information, clothes, food; everything is now instant, faster or new and improved.
Sounding like an old fogey I find myself thinking or saying, “Back in the day…” quite often. Back in the day, relationships took time. Back in the day, food also took time. Back in the day, those two things went hand in hand; food and mingling. If you look back in time, more people were healthier, not just skinnier. Food took time, you used it as a social tool to connect with your family and close friends. (Not in everyone’s circumstance, but certainly mine.) Even if we were just sitting at T.V. trays watching Friends we still took the time to laugh together over dinner.
Here is my main beef; if we all took time to break bread with each other I think there would be a lot less miscommunication. Technology has moved so fast we haven’t even had time to catch up with it, let alone each other.
I’ve seen some current technological trends where artists and musicians are looking to technology ghosts of the past to explore the hidden treasures of what the vinyl world had to offer. Strangely by looking back they’ve found recording on vinyl actually gives the music more depth, richer tones, more quality and more character. Maybe we have something to learn from the music world? Maybe, if we’re lucky, this trend of looking back will start happening in other areas of society. Maybe by looking back, people will learn to ditch their cell phones at appropriate times and start connecting again like they used to, and maybe, even connect over dinner.
What is the thing you miss most now technology has advanced? If you’re younger, what trend do you wish would come back so you could experience it? What are some annoying or inconveniencing things that have happened to you because of technology?