On Analogue and Digital Culture

Most of the people around my age, who lived in the awkward era of transition between the analogue and digital, will somehow have mixed feelings and interest on things like vinyl and cassettes. Of course we know it exists and all, but we don’t have to pour our time and hearts out into collecting these things when we have an iPod and it’s awesome clicking wheel (although one could argue that it has become retro as well somehow) in our palm.

I have, at some point, tried to collect records. Going from one pop up market to another, roaming around old record store or just going into some weird hipster region in Melbourne. I found a really strong interest and culture in analogue media, be it a vinyl records, cassettes, or those humongous laser disc.

digital analog

Anybody at around my age will have at least thought of owning a turntable. Some have even created a great tapestry of old records by arranging a special table in one corner of their house.

This thing, this analogue sphere of some sort, has shifted from the mainstream into the subculture. It is not a surprise really, and you can even tell me that I am 10 years too late in speaking about this.

The thing is, we are coming into an era where we could no longer tell which culture is mainstream and which one is not. The Internet, the globalisation, the global urbanisation of some sort, has created a world with subcultures, a world of groups and collections of niche markets.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing though, it shows progression, and it shows willingness to change. And what else represent humanity better than their ability to adapt? We live in a society where if books have been deemed redundant by tablets and laptops, we would easily shift it into subcultures and nobody will make a big fuss out of it. Our cultural movement and preference are so smooth and natural, that we don’t even realise such change is happening.

From pen pal to email to Friendster to Facebook to Snapchat and so on, we are constantly changing our way to interact with the society that we live in.

The only constant thing in society is change.

It is admirable really, that in the midst of humanity’s stubbornness of change like Tea Party’s refusal to believe on climate change, ISIS’s refusal to accept any other culture other than theirs, Catholic’s refusal to accept gay marriages and the society’s refusal to focus more on Batt Taylor’s Phillae mission rather than his bloody shirt, we are still able to demonstrate this sort of instinct to adapt to change.

The analogue and digital culture represent more than just technological movement really, it represents our basic ability to change, to adapt. Even when our dearest phone that we can’t live with is still okay to use, we can’t wait to change and adapt into the new, upgraded version of it. It is just fascinating.

At the end, I’m not saying that we are indeed able to change our view on those societal matters and beliefs. Those are beliefs after all. But I guess the digital analogue relationship has demonstrated that we, as human beings, are willing to change given the two conditions: There is a new, more exciting, upgraded version of the thing that we used to live with or that we keep an open mind about the merit and essence of other things to believe on. After all an Apple fanboy wouldn’t just change to Samsung even if they have a retinal scanner just because it’s not Apple.


“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” – Winston Churchill



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