I have a very strange relationship with technology. I love it. All of it.
As you can probably tell by the title of the blog, I’m an anthropologist. I study how people use technology. I’m currently working on how companies use social media and how this compares to and contrasts with how individuals use social media as a form of social interaction.
I’m not only interested in “new” technology though. I have a soft spot (more like an obsession) vintage and antique (really, what’s the difference?) technologies, or what my dad refers to as “1920’s shit”.
On one hand:
I love being able to do research on the computer. It’s great to not have to go into a library and look at hundreds of books or microfiche slides to find a specific article or even find the “perfect” article. I love being able to do research just about anywhere with an internet connection. There’s something about having a cup of coffee while I’m reading through abstracts, choosing which articles I download and which ones just won’t do.
I love being able to download music, cutting out having to drive to the store to buy a CD when I only like one song. I love being able to put that music on my iPod and listen any song, anywhere, at any time without having to carry all of my CDs around in order to have that option.
I love using social media, instant messaging, and email to connect with people, have conversations, and keep up with what friends and family are doing. In addition, I love the internet. There is so much out there to find, granted not everything on there is of a particularly high quality or even remotely true. I also love being able to shop online. I’m able to get things that would normally be hard to find or completely unavailable to me.
And I love my cell phone. I love it. I don’t always use it to make phone calls, but I do enjoy text messaging, apps, and surfing the internet on it.
On the other hand:
I love listening to music on vinyl records. There is something about putting a record on the turntable, setting the needle down, and enjoying the crisp sounds that come through the speakers. Having been able to listen to just about every medium music can be recorded on, vinyl is still the best.
I love using film cameras. I enjoy not knowing what’s coming when I snap a photo. I love the fact that it takes a certain amount of skill and knowledge to make sure that the photo comes out at all and that if you don’t take the time to do it right, the photo will be ruined. I love getting my pictures back from the photo lab and looking through them in the car because I can’t wait until I get home to see what came out.
I love writing on and repairing typewriters. There is something about typing on a typewriter that just feels right. I don’t know what it is. When I use a typewriter I feel more connected to what I’m writing. It feels more permanent. It just feels good. I feel more creative, for some reason. It may just be in my head, but I don’t care. I love it. Repairing typewriters is another story. It’s a hobby. I like the challenge of having to figure out what is wrong and how to fix it. I love the fact that it feels like a sort of meditation to be zoned in something and be thinking only about the task at hand. It’s relaxing, as strange as that may sound.
I love sending and receiving mail. I don’t know why, I just really love when I get mail (Online shopping helps with this a lot. So do magazine subscriptions.) and I open it to find something I’ve been waiting for. I love sending people mail as well. My favorite is to send a letter, more often than not, typewritten on one of my typewriters. It feels more personal than an email, more thought out. It’s also a nice way to break through writers block, since it gets your mind off of one topic and onto another for a time.
I love reading on paper. I subscribe to a couple magazines. I buy a lot of books. I love the feeling of the book in my hands and turning the page as I advance through the story. I love the feeling you get when to start to reach the end of the book and you just can’t put it down because you can feel how close you are.
Basically, I love technology. All of it.