Friday, January 18, 2013

I want to be alone - Thanks for the Memories

You're probably too young to remember the Greta Garbo line "I want to be alone". Actually, its way too early for me to remember it either. But thankfully we have YouTube as the public memory.

Came across this interesting video, also on Youtube, in which Dutch citizens were asked whether they needed a mobile phone. This was in 1999 when a mobile was fairly commonplace, but there were no smartphones. You has basic phone capability, 10 fast dial buttons and that was probably it. Standby time on the Nokia 6301 that I had was about a week.

I liked having a mobile phone in 1999, but that was because of my work in professional broadcasting. I only used it socially in an emergency. These people felt that a mobile "was unnecessary- just think of're riding your bike and a you get an annoying phone call." You could get hold of other people in this video by leaving a message on their answering machine or sending a letter.

Fast forward to 2013. Increasingly I find that people don't react to voice phone calls to their mobile, or have switched the mobile to answerphone mode automatically. Only a message via Whatsapp seems to trigger them. So despite an investment of 50 bucks a month they are still not reachable - because they regard their mobile as as an annoying intrusion.

I wish public archives did more of these comparisons between then and now. I find many broadcast archives have enormous difficulty in finding topics from the past and putting them into a relevant context for the future. In the end, it is the public that finds these interesting nuggets.

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