So lately, I’ve noticed a trend that I find disturbing. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING seems to be moving to a digital format. Music, games, books, you name it, and you can find it on the Internet. It’s getting to the point, that anything that isn’t on the Internet in one form or another, ends up nearly unknown. The first to ‘go digital’ was music. It started with the release of the first MP3 player, back in 1997.
At the time, it was a great invention. You could store hundreds of songs in a device that could fit in your hand. When the iPod was released in 2003, the popularity of the MP3 player exploded. Portable CD players started to become a thing of the past, as people instead loaded their music onto their latest gadget. If it had stopped there, that would have been fine. However, it didn’t.
As time went on, more and more music began to be found almost exclusively on the Internet. It’s gotten to the point where some of the best music ended up making a limited amount of physical disks. The reason? Compact disks are becoming obsolete.
Unfortunately, that was only the beginning. In 2004, the Sony Libre was released. It was the first E-reader to grab the public’s attention. The written word, once confined to the pages of a book, was converted to a digital form. When Amazon released the Kindle in 2007, everything came to a head.
By 2011, four years after the release of the Kindle, Borders, one of the two biggest book stores had closed. Barnes and Noble, a long time competitor of Borders, survived only by releasing it’s own E-reader, the Nook. More and more, it appears that we are forgetting the value of a book, and I mean a true book, at the cost of convenience. Some would go so far as to say that books, which have been a symbol of civilization since the dark ages and before, are a dying race, that the time, energy and love that has been put into that paper is better served by a cold screen and a series of microchips.
More and more, I see a move towards convenience over quality. Not just in books and music, as well as the way that we perceive them, but in almost everything. Talking, researching, even relationships are all slowly being replaced by technology. Most people prefer to text over talk, most times preferring to eschew verbal communication altogether. Where at one point, people would argue a point, each giving point and counterpoint, an argument today is usually solved with the words “Here, I’ll look it up.” Even board games have suffered. Scrabble, Monopoly, all of them have moved from the physical onto an impersonal electronic form. For better or worse, things are moving from the physical to the electronic, and personally, I’de rather not hear the world end with the words “Is there an online version of that?”