Ever wondered how things change so dramatically yet we almost don’t notice it happening? Technology is one of those things! Take for example our smartphones, in my case my beloved iPhone, whatever we want to do “there’s an app for that”. Remember not that long ago when a phone was a… phone?
And what about music? Buying an album or god forbid, a single, is now almost a thing of the past. Some of the younger generation today have never purchased music in a physical form. Much to the misfortune of high street retailers such as HMV.
The same thing is happening to video…. Sorry! DVD… Sorry! Blueray…or whatever the latest flavour of the month is… similar to music this is now rapidly moving towards being completely digitised. How many of you are still members of good old-fashioned rental stores such as the rapidly diminishing Blockbuster? I am, and I must admit I will be rather sad when the inevitable time comes when the last remaining blockbuster store within a vaguely reachable distance closes it’s doors (we are already traveling quite some distance after our local store closed, and then the second most local, and we are now onto our third not-so-local store!). However, we are clearly behind the times. Even my Mum thinks so, having long since made the switch to online rentals… like the majority of the population. But to me there is something nice about actually going to the store and picking your film… and of course, you can’t pick up a bag of toffee popcorn if you rent online… Although give them time and I’m sure anything is possible!
Changes can also be seen in the world of printed media. Take for example, newspapers – readership for printed papers is rapidly diminishing as more and more readers migrate to digital formats, opting to access their newspaper via a website or a digital subscription. I expect magazines are heading the same way. Not to mention the growing popularity of e-books over traditional printed editions. Nowadays instead of packing half the suitcase with books, travelers simply pack their kindle and take their whole library on holiday with them!
But what about shopping? Now this is an odd one. For food shopping or buying small inexpensive goods, consumers may be happy to shop solely online. However what about for expensive items? Well, have you ever went to a store to try a product only to then leave and purchase it online where it’s often substantially less expensive? When it comes to expensive items, we don’t want to take the chance that the item may be unsuitable, especially if it would be difficult to return, but we still want the savings that online shopping offers. I wonder what impact this is having on the retailers?
As with most changes, modern technology brings it’s positives and negatives. The negatives have been briefly mentioned here, including the impact on retailers… and the lack of toffee popcorn with your movie.
However, these technologies bring one major advantage…
After all, how much easier is it to do your weekly shop, choose your film of choice, download the latest album and buy your outfit for the weekend all from the comfort of your sofa? Not only that, but media downloads and streaming make obtaining material instantaneous. On that note, I wonder if we are being conditioned to become a society based on instant gratification? Nowadays, you can hear a song on the radio (or should I say via a radio app) decide you want it, soundhound it and buy it… all before the next song! It doesn’t get much more instant than that! Compare this to only a decade ago, when if you heard a song you liked on the radio – you had to hope you hadn’t missed the DJ announcing the artist’s name, remember the details and travel to a record store (remember those?) to buy it… In short, you had to really want it!
Does this easy obtainability influence the value we place upon some media? Are movies, music and books now at risk of becoming disposable? Years into the future, will that One Direction MP3 be as treasured and as valued as the Beetles’ vinyl is today?
And don’t even get me started on torrent downloads…
So do we fight or embrace these technological changes? I will leave that up to you… as I finish typing this blog from my iPad… Remember when we had to use a desktop computer? 😉
Image courtesy of Pixomar / FreeDigitalPhotos.net