Nostalgia and technology: A love story

It all hit me on a bright early morning in Mexico last October. The sun was rising as I walked out on my balcony overlooking the Sea of Cortez. The sounds were minimal outside of waves crashing on the shore off in the distance. The colors from the land connected perfectly with the sky and the sea creating an impeccable vision of art only provided by the natural mysteries of the earth. My phone was nowhere to be found. Another time I was in the Rockie Mountains, roughly 12,000 feet above sea level, surrounded by the peaceful Colorado atmosphere without any cellular service. If there was a single pin dropping against the rocks, I would have heard it as I collected my thoughts and took in the sights of the gargantuan elements of the mountain I was on. These are things that I normally wouldn’t think about on an ordinary day, surrounded by the distractions of modern day technologies.

I recently had a discussion about bringing back flip phones and how it would impact our modern day society as a whole. Initially, I balked at the idea of trading the wonders and efficiencies of today’s technology for simpler technology. Although I still had skepticism, I thought about it some more and realized that we may be overconnected.

Before smartphones, I had spent hours in front of my laptop on a regular basis instead of my smartphone. While the paradigm is similar, the difference was the separation between myself and the digital universe once I turned the power off. After the screen went dark, I was no longer bombarded by forms of messaging, content, advertising, and distractions throughout my daily routines.

For those who may feel overwhelmed by the twenty-four seven nature of Internet connected technologies, this could be an opportunity to take a step back and embrace a retroactive technology boom. I do wonder if we have truly reached a breaking point where technology has become too much to where they are no longer tools for efficiency but overbearing platforms that demand so much of our time and attention that they become counterproductive. Will this eventually spark a rise of things from a simpler time? Only time will tell.

These ideas lead to a trip down memory lane for me. Recently, I jumped on and revisited some of the old Myspace and Facebook sites to reminisce my high school and college years. I was amazed at how the plain blue basic layout that I was staring at would become one of the most powerful entities in the modern-day world. These websites were basic but cool at the time. As I continued to browse, a bunch of questions popped into my head. Should we revert back to older technologies or should we keep progressing forward to concepts like augmented reality. It appears that there is a major thirst for nostalgia in modern day culture. Old video games, like the NES and SNES classic are some of the hottest selling items today. Shows like Stranger Things, which highlights 80s nostalgia, is wildy popular. Twin Peaks, Will and Grace, The X-Files and Full House (now Fuller House) have been revived.

Is clinging to nostalgia an attempt to bring back “the good old days”? Should we move on and try focus our attention on enjoy the moment that we are currently living? When I think back at how cool these shows and items are now, I realized that they just felt normal ten or fifteen years ago. Back then I didn't think to myself that this content was the greatest thing ever.

I think that many of us romanticize the great times of the past to mask the struggles of present day without realizing that things weren't perfect back then. The struggle of uncertainty was always there and still is. While this may be true, I do romanticize about an era when you called and left a message on an answering machine or knocked on a door to see if a friend was home.

While these practices may be things of the past, there is no doubt that there are so many reasons to praise modern day technology. From a business standpoint, we are in the greatest era for technology. Efficiency is at an all time high and opportunities for entrepreneurial ventures and philanthropic initiatives are endless. The Internet provides an opportunity for virtually anyone to capitalize on the ability to reach a global marketplace in an extremely simple and cost efficient way. I personally enjoy technology and all of its offerings however I do think that it is healthy to take a step back and take a break from tech. Like almost anything or any activity, finding a balance is the key to finding the happy medium.

- C


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