Analog or Digital?

Analog or Digital?

I listened to a podcast recently where the author of Revenge of the Analog, David Sax, was interviewed.

It got me thinking about how much has changed over the last 15 years, not just in how we capture our memories, but in the way we communicate, listen to music, read and work.

We rely so much now on digital ways of doing things, but do you sometimes miss the analog days? Do digital methods increase or efficiency and solve problems or do they create more problems and distractions?

In many ways I think digital methods have increased our efficiency in communicating with each other instantly across the world. Mara and I are able to consult with our US colleagues via email or social media and get a response within a day.

But do we take digital for granted? Do we rely on it too much? Are we distancing ourselves from personal contact by using digital communication methods?

Many of the clients who contact us now are seeking help with finding, organising and backing up their digital images. Digital cameras became mainstream in Australia around 2002-03, approximately 15 years ago. It is not uncommon for us to see digital photo collections of over 150,000 images – that is 10,000 images taken each year! Excessive? Yes! But do these photos ever get looked at again? Printed? Sadly the answer is mostly no. So although digital photography means we take more photographs, we just don’t treasure them as much as we used to or print them to appreciate them on a daily basis.

I had a pen pal when I was growing up – a second cousin who lives in New Zealand. How I loved checking the mail each day, waiting for the next letter to arrive from her, which sometimes came with printed photographs of her and her family.  I remember back to school and university days, I would learn by writing out my study material. Though I don’t know if I could sit and write page after page like I used to – I fear my hand would start cramping after about 5 minutes of writing! The art of a hand-written note seems to be something of the past. Over the past few years I have noticed the decline in Christmas cards we have received – with most people opting to send Christmas greetings via email, text message or social media.

Again recently, my sister was telling me about a book she was reading and recommended I read it. I asked if I could borrow it when she had finished, but she said she doesn’t read physical books, she has an e-reader. I personally love books, bookshops and take my kids to our local library at least fortnightly to borrow a stack of books – I really hope physical books don’t becoming something of the past also.

Then there is music and movies. It wasn’t that long ago we were watching movies on VHS (I loved going to the video store on a Saturday night to choose a movie with my family!). I have a box of CDs and DVDs stored in a cupboard that haven’t been touched in years, because now we all listen to music and watch videos digitally via Spotify or iTunes. But I paid good money for those CDs and DVDs and just can’t part with them just yet!

How things change so quickly. It is hard to keep up sometimes. Do you prefer the feel of a real book, a hand-written card and printed photographs? Or do you embrace the digital methods of e-readers, email and digital photo sharing?

Have a magical day


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