Technological Changes: How Behavioral Transformations Modified Culture and Society
Changes in technology have continually transformed the social and cultural setting, including the manner of communication that humans adhere to now. In the past, forms of entertainment were often enjoyed as a group, whereas now, music is increasingly being appreciated as an individualized activity. Thus, activities such as movie and television viewing, listening to music, and watching plays are now enjoyed differently than in the past. One of the technological advances today that has influenced the social and cultural landscape of the music industry is the iPod.
The iPod belongs to the MP3 player family, although it is not the first recognized gadget of its kind. However, because the Apple Company was able to masterfully conceptualize and improve digital technology, the proponents of the technology soon adapted the technology and design. From walkman to disc man, the bulky design shrunk to a portable 5-in. to 8-in. media player without the hassle of carrying music tapes or discs, and yet can store thousands of songs in the device (Costello, 2009). As such, music has become available to wider audiences, which allowed people of different cultures accept and appreciate another culture’s musical contributions (Kanter). More people were also introduced to varying musical genres instead of limiting themselves to what they are only familiar with. As their reactions and understanding of music widens, the more people become open to expanding their musical choices, thus, giving them a wider and inclusive appreciation of music.
Socially, music has helped strangers strike up conversations among each other despite differences in culture and ethnicity. The songs stored in an iPod can easily be conversation pieces that helps eliminate the cultural and social gaps among people (Sternheimer). Likewise, people who prefer to enjoy their music in solitude may do so because the iPod allows one to play music regardless of volume they want (Worsham).
While the iPod presents numerous advantages for an individual, it also has some disadvantages. Saval (2011) points out that people have a tendency to become anti-socials considering that with an iPod, individuals ignore the opportunity to share and enjoy music with other enthusiasts. They adhere to what is popularly known as “solitary hyper-listening” (Saval), which translates to introverted musical enjoyment, as only the one listening to the iPod gets to hear the music and enjoy it. As a result, these individuals tend to zone out and listen to music instead of cultivating their relationships with other people. Thus, an individual who is naturally shy and does not know how to maintain relationships with other people, could remain detached from others. In the end, this could even lead to depression and other mental problems.
In addition, because the iPod can store thousands of songs, videos, and movies, Sternheimer (2011) asserts that iPod owners may soon realize that human contact is not important anymore because they can enjoy the gadget on their own.
While the iPod has contributed so much to the advancement of the music industry and has helped bridge cultural divide among nations, it has also contributed to developing a culture of people with artificial relationships only. Socially, iPods may have failed to help people build relationships, but culturally, iPods have contributed so much in the acceptance and appreciation of other races, ethnicity, and musical inclinations.
Costello, S. (2009). How Apple transformed music and our lives. Retrieved from http://ipod.about.com/od/glossary/a/how-apple-changed-music.htm
Kanter, H. (n.d.) Societal effects of the iPod. Retrieved from http://ipod.about.com/od/glossary/a/how-apple-changed-music.htm
Saval, N. (2011). Wall of sound. Retrieved from http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2011/03/wall_of_sound.html
Sternheimer, K. (2011). Social change, popular culture and social cohesion. Retrieved from http://www.everydaysociologyblog.com/2011/06/social-change-popular-culture-and-social-cohesion.html
Worsham, R. (n.d.). Positive effects of iPod. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/list_7342912_positive-effects-ipods.html