Lately I have been thinking about how much technology has changed the way we all enjoy the pleasures of our daily lives. From grocery shopping, Hollywood entertainment, and even procedures that occur in a normal office setting, it seems that very little corners of modernity have been left untouched by the presence of newer technologies. So much of what was done in the past one way has either been abolished or dramatically altered by phones, social media, computers, and human-device interactions. I don’t necessarily believe that these changes are negatively affecting every day life, but the shifts are worth noting.
I keep looking at how far televisions have come in terms of aesthetic design, functionality, and user friendliness. TVs appear to get larger each year and with the newer technologies (HD, LCD, etc.) the ability to watch a movie or program with such brilliance is still awe-inspiring. There are even television that come equipped with Netflix and Hulu capability. Where this gets a little hairy is that with all these new shiny features on TVs, I think people have become more willing to stay at home and stream films. Going to the movies has always been a big staple in American popular culture and I think that it is really going down. People just don’t go to the movies as much as they used to. With huge screens and louder home systems, you can bring the experience home with you. But it isn’t the same experience – it is a version of another experience. I remember how excited I was when I was young and my family would go to the movies and see films together. Now with this huge pull to make all life easier, a lot of activities can take place in the home.
Even the idea of going out and renting movies is almost obsolete. Gone are the days of Blockbuster commercials and Hollywood Video stores; Netflix has virtually wiped out all competitors. Progression as a bad thing is not my argument, but some of the more meaningful youthful things we used to do are going to memories only our generation will understand going forward.
Think about the last time people actually collected coupon books. There have been countless images and social stereotypes of grandmothers or older relatives collecting and cutting out coupons for retail and grocery shoppers. Now there are online coupons you can print and promotional codes you simply need to type into the processor. Everything is easier and requires us to do less and less of the normal every day activities. With refrigerators that type out what foods are running low or even audiobooks on iPads that read bedtime stories to young children, people are doing less because the push is to make everything we do more efficient as far as ability, time, and mobility.
The largest, in my opinion, shift from older ways of communication is the emergence and subsequent total domination of texting. Texting has created a new environment, complete with norms and guidelines, on how people interact with one another. Very few can remember the last time they spoke on the phone with multiple people for many hours at a time. Again, this isn’t a bad thing that we can communicate long and short distances more easily, but it forces the younger generation to adopt a new set of principles and rules.