Roxanne Tellier – It Was 20 Years Ago Today

When you are smack dab in the middle of massive change, it’s nearly impossible to parse what is going on all around you.

Baby boomers have been there a few times. The chaos of the sixties, when the world suddenly went from belonging to your parents, to belonging to you and your like-minded friends – remember that?

That same sort of overturning of the norm happened around 1998, and most of us just rolled with it, not realizing how irrevocably our world was about to change. Once again, the world was being handed over to a new generation, and those who wanted to keep current, were about to be sent back to school or risk being considered a dinosaur.

A Facebook buddy, Walter Frith, posted something that I can’t stop mulling over in my mind … how is it that I lived in the middle of a complete technological upheaval, and never felt so much as a tremor?

Walter wrote, ” I’m watching the first season of The West Wing again for the zillionth time and having begun in the 20th century, it’s a hoot seeing the occasional typewriter, enormous video cameras, referencing the Encyclopedia Britannica with no mention of smartphones, Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia and Twitter, all of which had not been invented yet. Watching a political drama series without ANY reference to social media seems almost absurd now but the times were what they were back then, 19 years to be exact.”

… mind … blown …..

I was actually working in tech back then – first at Oracle, then as a writer and sales person for the Canadian rags Toronto Computes, then The Computer Paper, and finally We Compute!

I had a cell phone in the early nineties, but it was enormous, and cost hundreds of dollars a month to service. Very few people, beyond those who could write it off as a business expense, bothered with cell phones back then.

We moved to Scarborough in 1998, and I found a new career selling collectibles on eBay (which had debuted in 1995.)  Most of my transactions were done by cheque or money order, until PayPal launched in 1999, and forever changed international commerce.

There was no Wikipedia prior to 2001, and though it may feel like you’ve always been on Facebook, that site launched in 2004, eventually burying MySpace, which had launched in 2003.

From Parade Magazine:

The Evolution of the Cell Phone

  • 1973 – The first cell phone. The phoneMartin Cooper designed for Motorola weighed 2.5 pounds and had a battery life of 20 minutes.
  • 1983 – Motorola DynaTAC 8000X. …
  • 1984 – The Nokia Mobira Talkman. …
  • 1995 – The Motorola StarTAC. …
  • 1996 – The Nokia 8110. …
  • 1998 – The Nokia 5110. …
  • 2004 – Motorola Razr. …
  • 2007 – The iPhone.

Youtube came along in 2005, and Twitter arrived in 2006. Mixtapes were effectively put out to pasture when Spotify debuted in North America in 2011.

And the smartphones .. ohhhh the smartphones! It was 2007 before we began arguing over which iteration of LG, Samsung or iPhone was best. Can you imagine that? In only eleven years, trillions of dollars have been generated for an industry that didn’t even exist before 1973.

It’s hard to envisage how we lived prior to all of this tech. Cast your mind back to 9/11, for instance. At that point, with almost no social media, the North American phone network became impassable in hours, as we all tried to connect with people who might have been affected by the tragedy.

You know what else didn’t exist, even ten years ago? The iPad (2010,) and tablets in general. Uber (2009) and Lyft (2012,)  AirBnB (2007,) Pinterest (2010,) 4Square (2012,) Instagram (2010,) and KickStarter (2009.)

And that’s just a few of the apps we think we can longer live without .. and we have no idea what leaps and bounds of thought and tech might be coming down the pipeline to blow our minds in the 2020s.

There’s only one way that this relentless tech explosion can be stopped – if someone, so out of touch, narcissistic and megalomaniac were to take over the heart of this tech – the cell phone – and bend it to his needs. That would be a bridge too far, I believe, and might even cause those who rely on that convenience to bury their phones in the backyard ….

oh oh ….

=RT=

Roxanne’s column appears here every Sunday 

Contact us here

DBAWIS ButtonRoxanne Tellier has been singing since she was 10 months old … no, really. Not like she’s telling anyone else how to live their lives, because she’s not judgmental, and most 10 month olds need a little more time to figure out how to hold a microphone. She has also been a vocalist with many acts, including Tangents, Lady, Performer, Mambo Jimi, and Delta Tango. In 2013 she co-hosted Bob Segarini’s podcast, The Bobcast, and, along with Bobert, will continue to seek out and destroy the people who cancelled ‘Bunheads’.

3 Responses to “Roxanne Tellier – It Was 20 Years Ago Today”

  1. Peter Montreuil Says:

    Well stated, as usual, Roxanne.

  2. Lori Broadhead Says:

    I want my Atari 520 ST!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: