Getting in the right mindset

This morning I’m writing from a charter bus, where I’m spending the day performing in Tennessee and Mississippi with the Ole Miss Wind Ensemble. (luckily I have my iPad and the bus has WiFi.)

It’s funny how the ongoing conversation about the evolution of media can be found anywhere and isn’t reserved for journalism-related topics. My fellow music nerds and I were just discussing various music media, and it got me thinking…

The first album I ever owned was a cassette tape of Bryan Adams when I was six. Unimaginable lameness aside, I have fond memories of dragging my clunky red plastic tape player to the playground each day, thinking I was most definitely the coolest thing to hit first grade since light-up tennis shoes (I was a first grader in 1992…deal with it).

A few years later, I pestered my mother incessantly for a CD player like “everyone else had.” Unfortunately, we had fallen on hard times financially, leaving little money for things we didn’t need. One day I came home from school to find my father’s record player and hundreds of vinyl albums in my bedroom. It was the best they could do, and I soon fell in love spending hours each day listening to Chicago, the Eagles and my dad’s classic country albums. Something about the crackling hiss of a spinning record added to the experience of listening to those old songs, an experience that digital rendering eliminates, no matter how technologically advanced it might be.

I eventually got that CD player; in fact, I’ve owned several since then, along with two iPods, two iPhones and an iPad. The convenience and portability of digital music is unrivaled.

However, I still own a record player and try to buy as much new music on vinyl that I can. It doesn’t mean I’m stuck in the past. It simply means there’s a need in my life to apply certain technologies to different situations.

We’ve got to stop thinking about technological innovation as something that destroys other media. We’ve also got to stop thinking about new media from a transitional perspective, or something we need to “start” getting used to.

It’s here, and I love it. But it isn’t about changing our lives to accommodate technology, but seeing where technology fits into our lives. My iPad provides the perfect middle ground between a small phone and a bulky laptop to get work done anywhere. But it doesn’t stop me from keeping a small journal with me at all times to scribble out ideas, articles, etc.

Because no matter how easy it is to type away on Steve Jobs’ latest creation, there’s something I love about the look of free-flowing ink splashed in quick cursive across a blank page, despite the fact I write sloppily and my Fs look like Ts. And though I adore having access to my 30,000-song music library at any time, there is nothing I love more than coming home, placing a needle between the grooves and hearing the gravelly intro to “A Sunday Kind of Love” fill the room. That’s an experience no iPod can top, at least for me.

Can you think of other examples in your own lives that relate to the idea of blending traditional and new media? Do you avoid technology like the plague, are you the type to abandon old media and totally adapt to modern innovation, or are you somewhere in the middle?

How does traditional or new media contribute to your own experiences?


About Alex McDaniel

I am a first-year journalism graduate student at the University of Mississippi.
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6 Responses to Getting in the right mindset

  1. Gabrielle Krotser says:

    I am one of those people that just loves new technology, so yes when the latest and greatest ipod comes out, I toss the old one aside and adapt to the new. I can’t remember the last time I held a cd,a major issue I had with them was the fact that I never had enough space. When ipods came out it was a miracle because I could say goodbye to shoving them all in a cd holder/organizer and upload/download all my favorite songs onto one device and forget about messy with those ever again.

  2. Cameron Cook says:

    I guess this isn’t that old but I still have the first generation ipod touch which i got in 2007. After all the new editions still have been released, I feel no need to update and get the newer version of this ipod. My cousin has the one where you can “facetime” on it and he told me thats why I should get it. I told him to go on the computer and just go on skype. However, when it comes to cell phones for example every time my contract is up i always want to upgrade myself to the newest phone out there. In the car however, I have so many burnt and labeled cd’s that I rather use to play music rather then my ipod. I use a cassette adapter for my ipod and its funny because cars being made now are not even being installed with cassette players. I do find myself wanting to be part of this high tech revolution, however I do like and still use some of the “out dated” pieces of media.

  3. Deanna Gentry says:

    I agree that the new age products are tying to replace and add to the older media players that we use to use. When I was younger, I can remember listening to all my music on a CD player. That was a terrible experience. My batteries would die, then I would have to buy new ones, then I would lose them. My CD’s would be all scratched up or unexpectedly break. The CD player itself would skip whenever it was put through extreme situations such as hitting a bump in the road when I would ride the bus to school. It was terrible – and I hated it – but it was the latest technology and all I had. Now, in this day and age I am thankful for my iPhone which can double up as an iPod thereful I don’t have the same problems that I had with my ancient early 2000’s CD player. This is just one example of how I am thankful with how fast technology is increasing.

  4. Heather Applewhite says:

    I grew up with my dad’s old music, too. Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, The Commadores, Ricky Scraggs, and Doc Watson were constantly surrounding me. I loved it. We collect old records together and sometimes we order new ones, but we always have a good time searching for them. I always got the new technology growing up until my dad noticed that I wasn’t using my tape player (which were dying because I wasn’t born until ’93 😉 heh), my mP3 player, or my two iPods. I will admit my brother and i had all the gaming systems that came out until I was about 13 or 14. He still gets them though. I even prefer film cameras. I feel like the digital age tries too hard for perfection. Yeah, it’s easier time wise; but why did people have more time back then. It seems the more and more we invent to “make our lives easier” just makes our life more hectic. There’s truly no room for excuses. The digital age has given a whole new meaning to “bring my work home with me.” Maybe I should embrace it, but that doesn’t mean I like it. I feel like the older people who have gone their whole life without all this technology and refuse to come near it are wise. Why should we tell them it’ll be easier to thrive with this technology? I personally can’t. I haven’t been around long enough to know.

  5. Courtney Smith says:

    I agree that technology is taking over big time, with the agingig of products. I have the iphone4 and when the iphone5 comes out (release date July) I am planning on getting it too. I also had the iphone3GS and all of this was in 2 years time. I am one that can truly say when technology improves, I am one that moves with it.

  6. Hill Ray says:

    Well my parents did not keep their record players around, but I loving going to Gino’s, a local rock n roll restaurant in Greenville, MS. The had a juke box that played old records like Elvis, the Beatles, and more. I used to love going up to the machine and putting 25 cents in the machine to play two songs. It even randomly played sometimes. I haven’t been there in ages. Technology has rapidly changed over time. With these I-pods, i-phones, i-pads, i-tunes, and many more. It’s just amazing how quickly technology changes and improves. You’ll buy a blackberry and 6 months later two or three new blackberries will come out.

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