FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Friday, September 10, 2004

Twentysomethings Go Retro

The New York Times has an amusing article about how young people are snapping up old technology on eBay and other venues. Early brick-sized cell phones, 45 RPM records, old radios and Atari videogames are very much in vogue in some circles. The reasons for this fascination vary, from a simple "everything old is new again" effect, to a sense of irony, an interest in history, and even shock value (the article profiles one young man convinced that the ladies will be "wowed" by his early-'80s Motorola DynaTac cell phone... even though he can't find a provider who will support it).

Just goes to show that today's antiques were yesterday's junk... and were state-of-the-art the day before. It's also curious that much of the technology mentioned in the article predated the young people who are buying it today. There seems to be a sense of "proto nostalgia" at work here, a longing for a past that one is too young to remember, and that probably never was.