Have you noticed that ‘digital’ is no longer a technology, it is now a whole philosophy. One created to make things more marketable.
I can now buy a digital case for my camera. It’s actually advertised as a digital case – presumably it’s made up of lots of little ‘0’s and ‘1’s and when there’s a power failure it will crash and require rebooting. Of course, I can get a digital photo frame. I sort of get it, but in the centuries that follow us, when all the digital records are corrupted and someone finds a scrap of paper with ‘digital photo frame’ written on it, will they assume it was a programmable frame style rather than a display tool?
Moving on from photography, I could get a digital ovulation test pack, and a digital pregnancy test kit. If, by some miracle, I was pregnant and delivered a bouncing baby (how hard can it be?) I can get a digital baby monitor (I can only guess that if you have an analogue baby, you need a different product. “Darling, the baby is emitting a strange sound, I think he needs rebooting”). I can buy camouflage pants in digital camo! Guaranteed invisible to the digital robot overlords, but not the analogue ones. I can get a digital compressor for inflating (I’m making a big jump here) digital tyres?
Should I require feeding, a digital microwave will heat up my food. Discretely in packets of ‘0’s and ‘1’s. I assume each molecule will either be hot or cold. None of your analogue ‘luke warm’ here thank you very much.I can get a digital ceramic tong for my curly locks. And this introduces another one of those marketing ploys, because not only is the ceramic tong digital, it’s also ‘pro’. Because you wouldn’t want an amateur tong, now would you?
I can get a digital Scalextric set (hmmm…) and a digital microphone for my iPad. But neither of these are ‘pro’. I’m beginning to have my doubts now.
But wait, I can get a ‘pro’ electric tooth brush, a ‘pro’ electric home pedicure kit, a ‘pro’ metal threaded tap connector and a ‘pro’ steam mop. ‘Pro’ trousers, ‘pro’ low energy light bulbs and for my digital child, a ‘pro’ child seat for the car are all available.
There is a serious point here. The words ‘digital’ and ‘pro’ are used by marketing people because they have become synonymous with the words ‘quality’ and ‘essential’. But most people don’t consider whether this comparison is true. So when they see these tags, they assume it must be better than before. It may be, it may not be. My point is that we are being trained to accept that it is. This attitude extends into the abstract – services are now being advertised as digital (in this case, digital usually means ‘online’, which is slightly different). I was looking into cloud computing the other day. But I had to have a good internet connection to do so, and of course if I actually wanted to work with the ‘cloud’ I’d have to have a consistently good connection. I process images on a PC not connected to the Internet – by choice as it means I don’t have to run potentially disruptive firewalls and virus checker software. So the cloud won’t work for me. The concept is good but the execution (as usual) is not quite there yet.
But the government tells us digital is the way to go. So that is where we are heading and if you haven’t got a secure hold on the bandwagon, you may well fall off during the bumpy ride.
By the way, all the examples of ‘digital’ and ‘pro’ above were found on one well known shopping website. Other well known shopping websites are available, all of them digital and some of the ‘pro’.