Mashable published an article last year called 50 Things Replaced By Modern Technology. As I looked through their list of things people don’t do anymore, I definitely felt feelings of nostalgia bubbling up. Some of the things, however, I was not sad to see phased out as modern technology evolves. One example is #22 on Mashable’s list: “Renew your car registration by visiting the DMV.” Thank goodness things like renewing your car registration are now made easier by filling out an online form instead of waiting five hours at the DMV. On the hottest day of summer. When the building has no AC and you’re sandwiched between the sweaty guy who doesn’t know what deodorant is and the poor woman juggling three screaming children.
I’m a sentimental person, so I decided to make my own list of things [on Mashable’s list] that I wish WEREN’T replaced by modern technology. Check it out below:
1. Print photographs.
I love printing photos, and I still do. Though it’s faster to upload an album onto Facebook than wait a day to receive my printed copies, there’s nothing quite like holding the actual photos in your hand and flipping through them as you remember the good times they hold. Shopping for the right frame for each photo is fun as well. Also, you can’t stick your Facebook photos on your wall to decorate your home (at least not yet).
2. Handwritten letters.
When I was little, I used to write letters to my best friend, who lived a whole hour away from me. Granted, we saw each other pretty often, about once a week. But it was still nice to go through the mail as a kid and get excited when something came addressed to me! Wall posts and direct messages on Twitter just aren’t the same. One thing I realized is that waiting for someone to respond with a hand-written letter really teaches a kid patience. It’s not like today, where you start to freak out when it’s been two hours and your friend still hasn’t responded to your email. Aren’t other people on email 24/7 like I am?
This was like the ultimate sign that a guy liked you…in middle school. He’d hand you a mix tape full of the good stuff, like K-Ci & JoJo, Monica, Boyz II Men, maybe throw in some Savage Garden. Back then, that was practically the same as asking you out (lucky guy, he didn’t actually have to vocalize that he liked you, just make a mix tape). The thing I miss about this is that people would take time to think about what songs to put on the tape, and how to make it obvious enough that they cared for the person.
4. Checking a map before or during a road trip or vacation.
I have mixed feelings about this one. If we’re talking about technology like a GPS that just tells you where to go, then I wish maps weren’t replaced by GPS systems. However, I’m fine with Google Maps. Mostly what I hope doesn’t happen to youth growing up in a technology-driven generation is that they don’t learn to read maps. I think knowing how to read maps is a crucial life skill and parents should teach their kids (or themselves) how to do so, even if it’s on an iPhone 5S.
5. Developing and sending off film for photographs.
This kind of ties into #1, but when I read this one, I remembered the days when I’d wind the film in my camera so it wasn’t exposed, then pop the back open and stick the roll of film in an envelope at Costco to be developed. A few days later, those rolls of film would magically turn into photographs that I could then put into awesome new frames!
6. Remembering phone numbers.
In elementary school, I could remember a good 5-10 of my friends’ phone numbers. Now, I can remember maybe two numbers. When I was little, I didn’t have a cell phone, so I’d pick up the kitchen landline after school, dial a number, and start chatting away. I realize I had just seen them at school, but sometimes you can’t explain why you do things as a kid.
7. Making photo albums.
Making a scrapbook also goes with this one. Uploading an album online takes minimal effort. But the effort that goes into making a photo album or a scrapbook pays off when you flip through them years later. Not only can you put photos, you can also add ticket stubs, letters, stickers, whatever you want.
8. Sending love letters.
My elementary school boyfriend would write me letters, which he’d then give to his friend, who delivered them to me. I guess there’s a good and bad side to having physical letters which you can save. Obviously we’re not together anymore, but back then I’d read and re-read his letters until the paper was super wrinkled. Sometimes it’s just a nice keepsake, and physical love letters are something you can look at without having to turn on your computer first.
9. Hand-written essays and school work.
I really, really hope hand-writing never gets fully phased out. Sometimes, when I haven’t written with a pen for a while and then I do, it’s super embarrassing. It’s like what I’d imagine a first-grader’s hand-writing looks like. Another reason why kids should still hand-write essays and school work is so that they can fully appreciate how good they have it with modern technology at their hands.
10. Keeping a personal diary.
I’ve got a collection of journals/diaries at home (no, I won’t tell you where) dating from sometime in middle school to college. I used to write in them before I went to sleep. Mostly about guys I liked and how emo I was. But it was incredibly therapeutic and a great way to get my thoughts out of my head so I wasn’t consumed by them. Also a good way to practice my hand-writing. The danger of keeping a personal online diary is the potential for it to be hacked and your secrets exposed to the world. Or even an accidental publishing as “Public” instead of “Private.” Of course, with off-line diaries, you also run the risk of your younger siblings finding them and reading them secretly (true story).