Dunvegan Thought Spot


In the research The Dunvegan Group conducts to support our CCR™ (Customer Care & Retention™) programs, we discover articles, blog posts and videos which, although not directly related to our work, are thought provoking or concern matters you may want to think about.  ‘Thought Spot’ covers a broad range of subjects.

The posts in ‘Thought Spot’ are selected by Olev Wain, Ph.D., VP of Research at The Dunvegan Group. 

We welcome your feedback!



The Appeal of The Physical in Our Digital Age

The digital age we live in has changed the way we listen to music, capture or record images, and read. As new digital technologies developed, old technologies were swept aside with many believing it was only a matter of time before they ceased to be used, being remembered only as museum curiosities.

This has not happened.

In fact, vinyl records and film photography are experiencing a renaissance, and paper books are still being sold and read.

Christian Jarrett in his article on “The psychology of stuff and things” in The Psychologist magazine explains:

More than mere tools, luxuries or junk, our possessions become extensions of the self. We use them to signal to ourselves, and others, who we want to be and where we want to belong. And long after we’re gone, they become our legacy. Some might even say our essence lives on in what once we made or owned.

I doubt if many people, upon inheriting old digital files, would view them as a legacy item by which to remember someone.

Digital images, words, and sounds, which have no physical manifestation, which can be instantly uploaded or deleted, may not be considered “real”.

Perhaps people are now seeking “real” things in their physical world to complement their digital world . . . something they can touch, see and smell.

Think about vinyl records.

In 2006, only 900,000 new vinyl records were sold in the United States; in 2015 new record sales had increased to 12 million which is an increase of more than 30% per year. And sales are not just to older people who used vinyl records in their youth and might now be making vinyl purchases for nostalgic reasons; young digital natives who never experienced vinyl records are also buying them.

As David Sax explains in his new book “The Revenge of Analogue”

Records are large and heavy; require money, effort, and taste to create and buy and play; and cry out to be thumbed over and examined. Because consumers spend money to acquire them, they gain a genuine sense of ownership over the music, which translates into pride.

Film photography is also on the upswing across all age groups, producing a physical record (i.e., a negative) that can be printed on paper or scanned into a digital file . . . the point being that you have a physical manifestation of the image you captured, which, if stored properly, will be usable for a very long time . . . perhaps more than a hundred years under ideal conditions.

What happens to JPEG files as storage technology evolves and the ability to open these files is no longer available. Should you have any, how many of you have the ability to retrieve data from your old 8” floppy disks. (Hint: you can still find these drives on eBay starting at about $250 . . . but what about the software that was used to write the files originally? Not so easy, is it?)

And finally, about reading and the paper book. Pew Research reports that two-thirds of Americans read a paper print book in 2016 . . . about the same figure as in the preceding four years. Only about a quarter read an e-book in the same period.

I believe we are not ready to entirely abandon our physical media and totally embrace a digital world. While the digital world is here to stay, there will still be a market for outdated technologies.

Your thoughts?

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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