Digital Media seems to be touching upon a great number of levels of our lives that, having to write about it scares me. It essentially appears as a subject on which there can be found an abundance of opinions, articles and discussions; therefore it makes me think whether it is meaningless to talk or write about any outcome of digital media at this point. However; when it comes to personal experiences, everybody has at least one very good story to tell, if not more.
We all heard from our parents, grandparents or essentially from people with whom we don’t belong to the same generation, memories about the first time they held a phone in their hands, how their first television looked like and the kind of life they lived without the media tools we have now. In my case, when I tried to picture the circumstances they told me about and the moments they were in awe about certain objects and technologies, I simply couldn’t reach a clear understanding of how that moment would look or feel like. Not because I am a highly dependent user of all the accessible digital means of our age, but simply because those memories don’t have an accurate equivalent within me. Still, the closest image I think I have that might have a similar level of excitement was when the time me and my mother were on our way to the Apple Store to buy the first ever iPhone.
The setting is a gloomy day in London, and the time is where my primary source of entertainment was to browse through the kid’s section at the bookstore. We have flown from Istanbul to see close friends living over there. I remember us walking to the store whilst talking about the mystery that was called an iPhone. Though, my head was still filled with the excitement of going on top of the London Eye, seeing the giraffes at the London Zoo, and of course, the books I’ve gotten from Daunt waiting for me at home. My memory stops there, no matter how hard I try to remember, there is no account of us being inside or leaving the Apple Store with the iconic shopping bag. Some following segments I remember include me holding the phone in my hands, looking at the visibly pixelated screen and browsing through the apps that could easily fit into one page, as there was no trace of the App Store back then.
Technically, I can remember the times I did not have a smartphone, neither browsers that answered all my questions, nor very entertaining screens allowing me to multitask nearly everyday. The beginnings of the laziness brought to our lives by the devices each of us own to some extent, doesn’t feel like a long time ago. Yet, I don’t have a precise remembrance on the ease of the time passing, the main topics of conversations with friends, and essentially how living felt like in my years as a child, either. I wonder if it is because to try to remember would require going beyond my abilities of holding onto very early memories, or simply because life was noticeably very different in terms of entertainment 10 years ago?
I challenge you to ask yourselves the same question.
The conclusion I have come to, and wish for everyone who’s the same age or younger to see, is that a balance between digital and analog mediums is crucial. Not only concerning our physical and mental health, but also for us to not to lose a certain sense of individuality. Values such as craftsmanship, creating something uniquely personal, and the patience that comes with the process, are still notions that make us who we are. Perhaps unbearably long stories coming from our elderly that don’t seem to be relevant to us are not that bad after all. A right amount of past, present and future will what keep us grounded in this ever-shifting age of information.