Trying to Hold onto Something
What do “The Goldbergs,” a CD player with headphones and telephone poles have in common?
They’re all connected: 20th century style.
Oddly enough, being connected used to be construed as a bad, complicated mess. Wires would hang from everywhere…and then pop up somewhere else. Recall the triumphant house lighting scene from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” when Ellen has to navigate her fingers through a clutter of over-plugged outlets? This maze of confusion led innovators and inventors to draw a blueprint, but without a pencil or pen.
In a single word: wireless.
This reality was new, cleaner and more efficient. Consequently, we discovered space in our lives we never knew existed or thought was even possible. Along this evolutionary track came cell phones that increasingly functioned as handheld computers with surreal power. Included in the capability to make phone calls internationally while situated in virtually any location (as long as Sprint is not your provider) is the capacity to share random events, thoughts, pictures and videos through a myriad of social media platforms.
The range of practicality ranges from necessary to fun, as most aspects in life should. But will this ultimately be a good conversion for society? While wireless technology certainly has its benefits, there are drawbacks as well. For instance, what if a satellite is down (“Gravity”) or what if there is too much signal traffic that prevents the completion of a simple phone call or necessary internet search? What if there is an emergency, but every phone or communication device is formatted to the digital grid and the grid is temporarily malfunctioning or is broken?
Think Time Warner Cable…or Sprint. But with a wider reach and dependability.
Marco Santana of the Des Moines Register wrote an article about wireless and landline phones that was printed in USA Today on March 31st of this year. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which twice a year tracks the percentage of households that still use landlines, reported in December that 35.8% of U.S. households have gone wireless-only, a 77.2% bump over late 2008.”
Landline phones and landline technologies seem and feel ancient, uncool and not applicable to 21st century endeavors. Except that, in emergencies or situations when a person wants to actually feel connected to something, he or she would probably find assurance in holding an off-white receiver with a stretchy cord dangling around like a cosine wave.
It feels as if we are all entering the digital era of no return. However, like most things, balance is a good thing. Will the future be purely digital or will it develop into a hybrid of the past and present/future? Will analog become a legitimate backup system?
Point of consideration: Retro is considered cool for a variety of reasons and can even be viewed as a pausing mechanism to modern practices. This goes for clothes, lingo, general behavior, music, movies, toys, communication devices, etc.
It’s strange: the more connected we get by transitioning to digital technologies actually makes us less connected in the literal sense. More of our lives continues to float upwards into the ever-expansive and mysterious cloud.
What’s next? Fishing without a pole and worm?
Posted on November 14, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged "The Goldbergs", 20th century, 21st century, analog, cell phones, communication, connected, digital era, digital grid, landline phones, mystery, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, popular culture, reliability, retro, smartphones, technology, telephones, the future, trust, wireless technology. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.