Living In The Virtual, Searching For The Real

A survey of American adults showed that while more of us are living more of our lives online than ever before, there's a corresponding rise in the need for and appreciation of physical objects, tasks, and connections.

What's the Latest Development?

Communications company JWT conducted a survey of 1,200 adult Americans to discover what they felt about today's technologies and how they compared to those of the past. In the resulting trend report, "Embracing Analog: Why Physical Is Hot," almost four-fifths of respondents said they "sometimes miss having some memories in a physical form, like photos, letters or books with inscriptions." In addition, more than two-thirds of Milennials (ages 18-35) said they "have a greater appreciation" for things like record players and film cameras, more so than any other age group.

What's the Big Idea?

Digital technology isn't going anywhere anytime soon, but report co-author Ann Mack says that people in general, and Milennials in particular, are placing extra value on physical objects: "There's a certain imperfection involved...a shift away from mass-produced, polished offerings. Millennials especially feel like these things give physical objects more personality." The report cites examples of companies and others taking advantage of this nostalgia for the analog. For example, the Web site for Beck's latest album Song Reader states that it consists of "twenty songs existing only as individual pieces of sheet music" for people to play on their own.

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Read it at FastCompany/Co.Exist

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