Why We Need Physical as Well as Digital

This article in NYtimes is spot on – we need physical books, records, papers! It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about.

I have a Kindle, I use Spotify, I read news online. I play Xbox, I use a GoPro, I have an iPhone. I do all my non-food shopping online (thank you Amazon Prime!). I’m on my Mac more than I want to know. I’m a high consumer and creator of digital content and services.

But – I also love books enough to bring hundreds of them with me when moving overseas, as well as over fifty vinyl records. I get NYtimes on paper every Sunday. I love board games and photo albums. Because physical objects have a different value than digital ones.

I still remember browsing my dad’s vinyl records, my mum’s books, reading a paper page to page. And of course, looking in old photo albums.You’ll discover music, books and learn stuff you never would have through digital channels.

For news consumption I think this is critical. When people read a paper, they read a little bit of everything, because it’s there. Online people scroll headlines, but there’s no ingress to skim. Combined with the click-bait headlines, I think we’re on a dangerous path, making people less knowledgeable of current events.

Looking at our personal lives, having all our photos digital creates the same void. You’ll only select the perfect ones, the best ones, – if you develop any at all. I too initially prefer the ‘pretty’ pictures of myself. But I also know that in a month, a year, ten years – the pictures that I love the most, the ones that makes me laugh or smile or cry, those are alway the imperfect ones. 

As a society, I think we are losing out on something valuable if everything is digital only.

The pic of me I hate and love the most
The pic of me I at first hated, and now I LOVE it. It will always remind me of an amazing evening I had with my sister in NYC. We were having fun with slow-motion video on the (then) new iPhone – and laughed until we cried.

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