Monday, April 09, 2007

Generation "i"

The iTunes revolution has been sweeping the nation since its launch in 2001. Apple has gone from being a fledgling computer company to a force to be reckoned with in the world of media convergence. Being a student at a university has opened my eyes to how widespread this pandemic has become. Every time I log onto my personal iTunes account, a list of dozens of other users pops up. We can share music as long as the other person is logged on, and it creates an enticing variety in music selection.

Even more, my campus is filled with students milling about with telltale white cords running from their ears to their iPods. They’re everywhere—walking to class, sitting in a lecture hall, even dozing in the garden at the center of campus. As much as my university is only a sample of the massive consumer population of said products, sale statistics validate that the iTunes movement is in full swing.

Apple announced on Monday, April 9 that it just hit its 100 million mark in iPod sales. A staggering 2.5 billion songs have been sold via the iTunes music and media store, along with 50 million TV shows and 1.3 million movies. Users need not leave the comfort of their computer chair to purchase things that once required leaving their place of residence.

My generation is emerging from college with the latest Apple gadgets in hand—and the next big thing seems to be the iPhone. But my generation isn’t the only connoisseur of this Apple madness—grandparents and school children alike can be seen with the latest, greatest Apple product. All this leaves me wondering how long it will take until we are completely reliant upon technology, and the simplicity of taking a walk on a Sunday afternoon will be replaced with watching the latest edition of your favorite podcast on iTunes.

In many ways, I am guilty as charged. Although my preference for catching a live acoustic show at a coffee shop is particularly die-hard, I find that my habits have shifted. Although I am yet to purchase an iPod, I have partaken of the iTunes music store feature. I’m yet to decide whether or not it truly compares to physically holding my favorite band’s latest album in my hands. Something about the the way I eagerly struggle to remove the shrink wrap from a brand new CD and pour over the lyrics for days as I listen to the CD on repeat in my car will always have a place in my heart. And I will always maintain that flesh and blood is so much richer than a glowing hunk of plastic and metal.

So here I am, in the midst of an ever-growing trend. I like to call it “Generation i.” We so willingly submit to the savvy branding of Apple as the music industry rises and falls with technology. It has become part of our every day existence. I’m not anti-Apple by any means, but I am wary of the increasing role technology has taken in our lives. It leaves me with one burning question: is our artistic expression and media experience being helped or hindered by this wave of innovation?

I’ll admit it: I’m a fence-rider. I haven’t come to any conclusion as of yet. I’m old-fashioned in some ways, but wide-eyed and interested in the possibilities of technology and invention. So I carefully choose where I will participate and, for all our sakes, keep a close eye on what trend or movement will envelop the media of our nation next.


Blogger Andrea Jordan said...

I really appreciate your article. You could develop the concept of the "generation i" even further--I believe it also communicates the degree of self-centeredness found in and among our particular generation. You are a very good writer, by the way.

Andrea Jordan

3:02 PM  

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