Technology has always filtered down to the unwashed masses eventually.
What are toys for the idle rich, becomes luxury items for those that can afford it, and then over time, everyday items for everyone.
When I got my first cellphone back in ’92, I was one of the first in my peer group, and I was forever asked, “Why do you need one?”. I was accused of being a poseur, or a show-off.
Now , I’ve never been one to show off, to be first on the block, by intent, or keep up with the Joneses. I just wanted one, because I like gadgets, that I think will be useful to me.
Anyway, mobile phones are an everyday common item for many, and just like the TV, the attitude towards them compared to 20 years ago has almost reversed itself now, and the comment “Why DON’T you have a mobile phone?” is often heard now.
If you don’t have a TV (which I don’t), you get asked why not? My answer, I don’t watch the darn thing.
For a few years, when living in a place with good public transportation, I didn’t have a car. I got told that I must have a sub-standard lifestyle by one guy online! About the only thing I couldn’t do then, was drive into the countryside. I could get everywhere else I wanted to go, and if I really needed a car, I could rent one. As for a sub-standard lifestyle, I had more disposable income – no car payment; no auto insurance, no repair bills, no gas to buy. I spent far less on bus and train tickets than I would have each month on running an automobile.
Some people worry that technology will make us all illiterate, that we won’t be able to read and write properly. Times change. Did the invention of the printing press change the world forever? Certainly. Did it signfy the end of coherent language? No.
What is language anyway? It’s just a series of utterances, noises even, that we make to communicate. Those utterances have been converted into symbols, called letters and words, which make up part of that communication. As long as we all understand each other, does it matter if we type ‘Are you there before me?’ or ‘RU there B4 me?’
I would say that there is a time and a place for everything, and one wouldn’t want to be using ‘txt’ language to write a resume or for a report for example. Although it would probably still be understood, it’s not professional, and reflects badly on the writer.
It’s perhaps akin to the spoken word, in that while it might be acceptable to ‘eff and blind’ in the rugby club, it’s not the thing to do at a dinner party (well OK, depends on the company, at the dinner party, but I’ m sure you get my drift here!).
Language is a living fluid thing, and in 1,000 years time, present day English might well be as unrecognizable to people then, as Old or even Middle English is to us today. As much as adding new words to the language, the actual syntax changes over time.
Some people worry that cursive or ‘joined-up’ writing isn’t taught so much in schools these days. When I was at school, we got marked down for bad handwriting, and bad spelling. I have to admit, that bad spelling always jumps out of the page at me. I find it quite annoying in business communications. You’re trying to pitch your business at me, and you can’t be bothered to use a spell-checker for Pete’s sake!
My late father once commented to me that everyone would be out of work because of computers. That’s been the cry from some folk ever since the earliest days of mechanization. From that printing press, to the cotton gin, to the spinning jenny, down to computers.
While it’s true that technological advancement does mean the end of some jobs, there are new jobs there to take their place, and other new industries start up in any case, that go on to employ huge amounts of people. In the computer industry alone, one can look at IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Google to see that. In the last few years, thousands of new jobs have been created since the Internet has evolved into the leading communications medium of our time.
Looking back, it seems that every industry has its birth, growth, and ultimately its own demise. It doesn’t always mean complete death, but perhaps just a small rump left. Nothing in this world is permanent, not just language.
I’m not a teenager. However, I’ve had a life long interest in music, and it’s my number one relaxation activity, besides reading.
I’m always playing it. I almost never watch TV. I don ‘t have an iTunes account, or an iPod but as I type this, I’m listening to mp3s on my Sansa m240, which I’ve downloaded from Napster during the last week.
Interestingly, although, I’ve not purchased any CDs for at least 3-4 years, I do, however, get sent a lot of promo CDs, as I run an internet radio station, NAB Radio, with the accent on showcasing indie bands of all genres.
For me, as a listener,Â it’s not the cost so much as the availability. I want to hear something now, and get the one song I want. I don’t need to go to the mall, or get a CD full of songs that I may already have most of, and perhaps have to wait 2-3 weeks for the store to get it in.
Finally, I guess digital is better for the environment, in the long time, and as long as everyone gets paid for their work, does the medium matter?
The 78rpm lasted around 25-30 years, as did the 45, and the 33rpm LP, and the CD is 25 years old next year, so it’s perhaps time for it to bow out.
Finally for those of you that are feeling all nostalgic, I grew up with a Dansette and a pile of 45s. Yes, it was fun, and it was good to hold those new 7 inchers in your hand, but, when I last played them (I still have around 1500 of them in my mother’s attic), I realized what a pain in the rear it was to get and down every three minutes to put on a new one. So much easier to load a few hours worthÂ into Amarok, or Winamp or whatever your player of choice is on your computer.