Memory Books and Polariods: In What Ways are The Younger Generation Using Analogue, Physical Media

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We’re about to make you feel really old: DVDs are considered retro. Can you believe that?

Well, probably, because even the dreaded millennials that are killing every industry haven’t been stuck holding onto their discs in an attempt to hold onto the past. They moved on with the rest of the world and embraced the fact that you can stream almost any movie you’re looking for into your TV without taking up physical shelf space.

And yet, there is something endearing about the items that are considered “retro”. Vinyl is coming back, polaroids, memory books, certain clothing items, household accessories and more are going to join them. It’s becoming fashionable to own a dial phone, for instance.

So, how is the new generation using this physical media? We explore.

Books

There was an odd phenomenon when the Kindle and other equivalents hit the shelves. Suddenly people started to loudly appreciate the smell of books. Today, you can even find variations of candles themed around books, with flavours like Sherlock’s Study, Oxford Library and Bookstore.

There is an entire culture around being a bookworm today, where once that was considered a reason to make fun. The culture is divided between people who care for their books like it’s a fragile antique and people who lovingly scribble notes, dog-ear pages for bookmarks, and suffer water damage from reading in the bath.

If you spend any time on social media, you will also see people trying to make their own libraries. Storing piles of books among wall-covered shelves. The Kindle might have given the book community a fright, assuming that stores would shut and books would go out of print, but they have bounced back.

Photography

We might all have a phone in our hands and a camera in our phones, resulting in an unprecedented amount of photos, but we’re not really seeing them. They tend to be posted, liked, scrolled past, and forgotten about due to the enormous amount of photos that are hitting the same space.

And yet, physical photographs still have their space. You’d be hard-pressed to see a TikTok, the gathering place of Gen X, without a line of polaroids held up by fairy lights.

That’s the cliché, but there are a lot of crafty things to be done with physical photos, and evidence of them are found everywhere. They are on candles, make up gallery walls, on the back of phone cases, etc. And most interestingly, they are found in memory books. Memory books were something you made as children to remember your school friends, but now, new brides are making memory books of their wedding and honeymoon, new mothers are making memory books of their children’s lives, and they are being created as an anniversary gift.

You can make a memory book online, by linking your social media to My Social Book and printing out a memory book full of your favourite moments.

Music

Do you remember sitting by the stereo, hitting record on and off at the beginning and end of your favourite songs on the top 40? Or the trope of telling someone you fancied them with a mixtape?

Luckily, the mixtape is still alive, in playlists. With Spotify’s ability to send playlists to anyone, you can still express a crush in the form of a few Ed Sheeran jams, but the Friday night activity of recording your favourite songs off the radio appears to be lost.

However, it might be making a comeback. Retro has a habit of going through cycles, typically 30 years, and recently the boomboxes of the 90’s appear to be making a comeback. There are people who walk with the Beats stereos down the street in town, but any vinyl enthusiast will tell you there is simply quality to analogue music that is lost in modern stereos.

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