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?