10 Things I Wish Weren’t Replaced By Modern Technology

Mashable recently published an article 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:

print photography#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?

#3: Make mix tapes. 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: Check 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 5.

#5: Develop and send 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!

cordless phone#6: Remember 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: Make a photo album. 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: Send 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.

stockvault handwriting#9: Hand-write 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: Keep 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).

Check out Mashable’s list for yourself. What are some things that YOU wish weren’t replaced by modern technology?

360 thoughts on “10 Things I Wish Weren’t Replaced By Modern Technology

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  3. I disagree with #4. If you missed a turn or went the wrong way, the GPS would say so instead of going the wrong direction til you figure out you went the wrong way. I do agree with learning the maps and signs in case to take that trip again. YOu can still print out pictures and put into a photo album with digital cameras using Walgreens, Costco, and other stores that have photography. And write letters. There’s a reason this stuff still exist

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  6. Reading this brings a smile to my face. Bringing back so many good memories which I treasure. Miss my friends writing secret letters in class, when the teacher turns around we quickly hand it to each other. We are all grown now and are so different. Developing photos with mum back in the day was awesome. I loved music since I was young, so when I got a new tape or when cd’s came out on your little tape player or hifi, friends will come over and you press the rec and play button together to record on a tape. So funny looking back. Don’t know if it made sense but that’s what we use to do.

  7. I have a very deep nostalgia for analog photography and real film photo booths. (Remember them? How amazing they were)!? This is why I shoot my “art” photography almost exclusively with film. An upside to the abandonment of film is a high quality, user friendly film camera can sell for peanuts these days. The down side is film is frightfully expensive, especially the beautiful stuff like portra 35mm or 120/220. I’ve spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on it this year. Then finding someone to develop your precious 12/24/32/36 shots per roll is a pain too. Sure, drugstores still do it. But the quality is terrible. Almost no-one develops film the way they used to with all those odorous, wonderful chemicals. I have found a local place to print my digital work I want on paper (with usually great results) and a place about a half hour from my work that I trek to when I have 10+ film rolls to develop. Thankfully they have been in business for 30+ years and they are usually very good developing and printing film. I get that old excited feeling waiting for my prints to come back, wondering how they turned out. And you can actually turn your fb or ig, etc photos into prints on your wall… I ordered an enormous, very long poster of my instagram shots last year through printstagram. Through teenytile every christmas I order tile magnets of my photographs and even a few 8×10 and 12×12 tiles of my work as gifts. You can upload your pictures or use FB, IG, FLICKR, etc. I do see what you mean though about digital versus film, most people, especially kids who didn’t grow up with film, tend to just upload it to Facebook and not have prints they tape to their bedroom walls or put in frames. I just hope that film is never entirely eliminated because there is a beauty and nuanced depth to the color and ambience of a film shot that I truly believe digital does NOT capture. I also bought a fuji polaroidesque instant camera (film is crazy expensive). But I do pop into CVS and other drugstores and you can find regular 35mm film for a steal sometimes… last week I picked up 12 rolls of film for the price of 6 on a buy one 4 pack get one free. It is scary to see so many photo stores go out of business though. I hope the photographers and enthusiasts can keep the best going.

    I also do hand write letters to my long term “pen pal” in Copenhagen, Denmark (I’m in Boston, Ma). It’s a way for us to send each other “old fashioned” notes and pictures (we are both photographers) and books and what not, it’s great. I also picked up some great moleskin soft cover journals to return to paper journal writing, which I missed.

    I also miss mix tapes and make cd versions for friends and they all think I’m crazy. How could a mix “tape” still not be awesome?

    Really liked this post!

  8. Very true! I love handwritten letters. Too bad, saying something to other people nowadays is done with the use of technology.

  9. Oh, this is so true. I”m only fourteen, so I didn’t get the chance for these things to be normal, but I still act as if they are. I love that at my summer camp we have the opportunity to take and develop our own photos, and have to write real “snail mail” letters for eight weeks. I keep a diary (sort of), and know how to read a map perfectly after my dad drilled it in to me during our eight hour car ride to Minneapolis. I am totally with you on all of this. I kinda think I was born in the wrong time, but whatcha gonna do?

    • “I”m only fourteen, so I didn’t get the chance for these things to be normal”

      No offense, kiddo, but that sentence truly frightens me! AND I’M ONLY 27!!! Go get a record player, hand held radio, and some disposable cameras STAT!

  10. That is so true, I loved reading your post. Even though technology ha spread all over, I still try to write on paper and it’s so relaxing and inspiring. I love the thrill of receiving a letter in the mailbox, irreplaceable! All the best xx

  11. I totally agree on mix tapes. Making mix tapes is a creative process. You need to think about each song and the order of the songs. Those tapes are very personal and that is why they are so good.

  12. haha..brilliant..yes to the diary..i read those and laugh my head off..and photos…there might be a generation that only sees photographs on a laptop…no album with embarrassing baby pictures in it..great post!

  13. My boyfriend and i still do “mixed tapes” but instead of tapes he’ll give me a cd or a playlist for my ipod :) And i so miss traditional photos, granted tehy still exist but these digital photos when you print them out don’t last as long. I did hear at some point Polaroid was/did come out with a digital polaroid camera that is a fully functioning digital camera with the option to print your polaroid picture like a traditional polaroid camera.

    It occured to me recently that my boyfriend has never really seen my handwriting even though we’ve been together for a year and a half! we either just talk to each other or if we are writing to each other its via text or messaging. It’s strange how such little things like that can change before you even realize it!

    I’ve been able to read a map since i was 7 (i’m 23 now) and i know tons of people who are a lot older than me who can’t read a map to save their lives, so i wouldn’t say it’s just my generation and younger. I do think it’s a good piece of knowledge to know especially since GPSes tend to not always be 100% accurate. In the middle of a road trip my gps detoured me 2 hours out of the way onto local roads just to put me back on the same road i was on!

  14. Ah.. the memories! Handwritten letters with printed photos arriving in the mail. I miss those.

    I hear you on the remembering phone numbers point. I used to be able to remember most of my friends phone numbers and birthdates. Now…? I’m lucky if I can remember my own phone number when asked. OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration but definitely can’t remember as many as before. sigh…

    Great post and congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  15. totally with you… my dad’s a photographer so i get a ton of actual picture to hang around… and i love scrap booking… i also love writing letters because it takes someone absolutely no effort to send a text or email really… when someone takes the time to write something down and mail it to you… it just seems to mean so much more… though some people have terrible hand writing so i understand why teacher’s may prefer homework to be turned in typed up… though i heard they may no be teaching cursive any more… which i think is terrible… we should never loose the ability to truly write our thoughts down… pen to paper is too important…

  16. I truly love this post. I love it. I love it. I love it. I feel that I could have written the same things. I love photos, holding them in my hands. My best friend made me a photo album for two birthdays and one that is incomplete. It’s one of those albums you can add pages, she cut out stuff from magazines and placed funny stickers. It’s not something I want to share on FB or with others, she made it when I moved to the Netherlands. I also love to write letters, and I still keep a journal, because there’s a soothing feeling of satisfaction. Thank you for feeling the way you do about these things, I’m not alone I see by the number of people who have responded.
    Recently Microsoft released this commercial. When I read this, it made me think of the commercial too.

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  18. This is a great post. I actually still do most of these! I never kept a diary, even in school but I keep one now. I still hand write my course work for uni and all essays before typing them up to e-mail. I don’t send love letters anymore, because there’s no-one to send them to, but if I had someone, I would probably do it too. I definitely still print my photo’s and make albums with them. I love Scrap-booking. I still remember all the phone numbers of my friends because although I have a mobile, I don’t really like it. And I am the designated map reader on journeys. I most definitely still make mix tapes, even though they’re now on CD’s. And I still write hand written letters, and thank yous and invitations.

  19. I whole heartedly agree with your top two! Printing photographs was such a thrill and I must be sitting on 50 rolls that I never got around to developing so I suppose that should go on my bucket list.

    Handwriting personalized notes and letters as well, I miss doing it and should put more time and thought into that effort. Great post. Thank you!


  20. I definitely agree with everything, especially #4. I bring that up, because it came up in convo a little while ago with a friend of mine who attended a school conference on technology, and how it “benefits” the future. He brought up how sad it is that today, many would be completely lost without a GPS. No one uses actual paper maps anymore. He said back then, he use learn his way around from looking at maps and getting lost. That is how one would remember their own city and such. I could go on, but basically… if we let technology rule our lives… we wouldn’t even need to bathe ourselves in X years.

  21. This article is perfect timing! I just spoke to a co-worker yesterday about the importance of printing out photos. When a group of us get together for brunch, hikes or a baby shower, I’m the one with the “real” camera while everyone else has a cell phone. When I print them out and put them in a album for everyone to see, you should hear the “Oohs,” “Ah’s.” and numerous conversations that go along with them. Those photos are looked at countless of times on the job as though it’s the 1st time.
    I also keep journals of all types with my current collection of memories in beautiful leather from Italy. Your post made me smile as I related to everything you said. Great job!

  22. I concur with everything you mentioned, especially the handwritten letters. I still send out personal thank you notes whenever I can. It’s so much more endearing!

  23. keeping a journal is specially important, and also reading real books and magazines. There is a dramatic difference, although some people may not notice, between the virtual and material. A screen in a computer, ipad, or iphone is not as real as a piece of paper, or a notebook (a real one!!). I feel that although the new technologies allow for us to “communicate” with the world and others, they also keep us away from ourselves (and I mean our physical selves as much as our mental selves), and that´s why I think it´s so important to protect these technologies, and such.
    plus! these technologies (such as a good nikon or canon reflex photo camera) were made to last. The same certainly can´t be said for those white computers apple sells. Am I wrong?

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