Sunday, November 7, 2010

8 Industries Changed By The Internet

I was cleaning my closet recently and I came across a record my sister gave me in the late 70's. It was the B-52's High Fidelity. I haven't listened to a record in over 25 years, but I keep it just in case it's worth a lot of money some day. (That's basically my retirement plan.) Owning a vinyl record these days reminded me how technology has changed over the years.

I'm all for technology, but I can't believe how fast it keeps changing. Just the other day I was thinking about the improvements that have taken place in my life because of the Internet. Every industry had been impacted by it. Here is a list of some industries that the Internet has changed or even killed.

1. Travel agencies- When was the last time you went to a travel agent's office to find out airfare prices on a vacation? About 5 years ago I tried getting some Hawaii brochures, but I couldn't find a travel agent that had anything more that the same computer access I did. I guess they still exist, but most people make online travel reservations themselves now.

2. CD Stores- Yesterday someone mentioned the name "Sam Goody" and I realized I haven't heard that name for over 10 years. Few people buy hard copies of their music these days at a physical music store. Today most people download music files thanks to I-tunes, Amazon, and other providers.

3. The post office- We still use the post office in to in order to send cards or gifts, but unless you have an official formal letter you are sending to a friend, most people wouldn't imagine writing a letter, paying for a stamp, and then waiting several days for it to arrive.

4. Encyclopedias- These used to be the ultimate source of knowledge. Most kids today have never used them. Why flip through every topic from Pathology to Purification when you can just Google Pentagon and get millions of links? They may be old school, but I still like encyclopedias.

5. Newspapers- Newspaper subscriptions have fallen across the board. I heard that the Wall Street Journal was one of the few papers that wasn't losing subscribers. It's getting harder to get people to pay for a newspaper that gets your fingers dirty that you have to throw away after, when you can access the same information online.

6. Video Rentals- Blockbuster and Hollywood have been dismantled by Netflix and Red Box along with other providers of streaming entertainment via the Internet. Ten years ago, standing in line for 20 minutes at the video store on Friday night was a normal activity. I just can't imagine doing that now.

7. TV news casts- It used to be that when you wanted to hear the news, get a weather forecast, or sports score, you'd have to turn on your TV at 6:00 or 10:00 p.m. and then watch a half of news until they finally addressed what ever it was you were trying to find out.

8. The Patience Industry- We have gotten spoiled with instant information and services. It seems our attention levels are now diminished and we are disgusted when we have to wait for anything. Much of this problem is our fault as a society, but most of the blame lies with Al Gore for inventing the Internet in the first place.

Maybe sometime in a technology nostalgia post I can address bringing back the old school fax machines that used curly thermal paper or loud screechy computer modems.


Pedaling said...

That darn Al Gore!

Retro Hound said...

In you last sentence you forgot dot-matrix printers.

I still buy CDs. I've heard too many people say "my computer; ipod; cell phone; died." I don't want to loose my stuff that easily.

Our Blockbuster store just closed. I've been thinking of doing a post on that.


I had to put down my Sony Walkman and repond to your post. I can relate to your commentary on our fast-paced world. This is why I still take time to read books and buy CDs. It's called denial. No seriously, it's good to slow down and sometimes. Remember person. Ah the good ole' days

Eric said...

These are all great examples, just retailing in general is so much different now-a-days.

RenegadeExpress said...

I support the CD industry.

Tom said...

I have to confess I haven't switched over to downloanding music yet. I have an MP3 player for running, but I still like CDs too.

mCat said...

Gasp - I still buy CD's!

And just thinking back from the time I was a kid to now - technology has grown in leaps and bounds, no wonder my poor grandparents were always so confused.

Kal said...

About ten years ago I was hired by a school board to supervise kids all afternoon that were on in-school detention. They didn't care what I did with them as long and they weren't making trouble. I had them work on distant learning materials, classroom work, and making huge collages about themselves. I let them bring their music in so they could listen to music while they worked. They could also have food if they were working and didn't leave a mess behind. Like in maximum security prisons, one person could ruin the priviledges for everyone. The only real rule I had was that they couldn't talk to each other and they had to be productive. It got to be where they liked my room better than their own classroom. There were all high school age and the ones that didn't outright drop out learned some coping skills to make it through their other classes. To pass the time I started reading the 'World Book' encyclopedias from 1980. Read the whole set A-Z over those six months. So if you ever want to know what happened in the world up to 1980 then I am your man.

Unknown said...

Don't forget the real estate and mortgage industries! They've changed vastly since the advent of the internet.