• Patrick McAndrew

Books, Flip Phones, Polaroids, and Vinyls: A True Underdog Story

Is low-tech cool?  Stylish perhaps?  The bees knees?  You betcha!

In my last post, I talked about thoughts on the future of technology.  But now, we are going to be kind and rewind. I read an article today titled, Why low-tech living is back. Granted…it was written two years ago, but let’s continue forward and pretend that’s not the case!  Two years isn’t too long a time, so I hope this post is still relevant for you.  And if not, see you in the next post!

The article discusses how books, flip phones, typewriters, Polaroid cameras, and vinyls are all the rage these days, and with good reason.  William Langley, the author of the article, comments on books saying, “There are some things that technology can’t replace, and readers began to realize that a proper book possessed something akin to a soul.”  While celebrities have begun switching to the old-fashioned flip phones to secure their privacy, Polaroid cameras, which were once nearly extinct in the early 2000s, have seen booming sales along with its fellow low-tech friend the vinyl.

Langley expresses that the tangibility of these items is what is bringing us back.  In an advancing technological age, smartphones and the latest gadgets do not offer the tangibility and charm that past inventions bestowed.  He specifically singles out how you can hold a physical photograph in your hand from a Polaroid.  You can hear the brief static of an old radio when finding the right channel.  There is a learning curve, a discovery with these objects that we enjoy indulging in.  These old-time gadgets allow us to develop a connection with them because we must figure out how to use them.  With modern technology always advancing, we can never get ahead of the latest technological curve to figure it out, which can be disheartening.

Langley states, “Behind the world’s unstoppable technological advance, it seems, is the awkward human refusal to be rushed. Or conned into believing that things that will actually make their lives more complicated will make them easier. Or sold expensive solutions to problems that don’t exist. And from these stirrings of resistance is arising the phenomenon of low-tech.”

“Sold expensive solutions to problems that don’t exist.”  Langley, you sure have a wooing way of words.  This is very true.  So many “problems” that we have today are in fact very trivial.  We are so caught up in technology and little things that we are not looking at the big picture.  Problems have been created that we didn’t even realize we had!  Perhaps because they never were really problems at all.  Technology, though great in many ways, has made things much more complex than they need to be, consuming our time with endless, meaningless tasks that give off the facade of important.

Perhaps this is why we are beginning to gravitate towards a low-tech lifestyle.  We are beginning to realize that our lives don’t need to be so complicated and complex.  I believe we are beginning to strive towards simplicity.  With less distractions from our screens, we can focus on the important things in life: family, friends, and real-life experiences.  But although we strive for simplicity and love us some retro gear, it is crucial to remember that we must not only strive for simplicity in our material stuff, but also in our way of living.

What are your thoughts?  Are you all abroad the low-tech train?  Is it possible to find a balance between high-tech and low-tech or do you have to put all of your eggs in one basket?  Comment below!


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© 2020 Patrick McAndrew