Going, Going, Gone, 7 things that are gone or going away with digital technology

person wearing beige sweater holding map inside vehicle

No one would deny that technology is a big part of our lives. When we compare our lives now to twenty years ago, even ten years ago, things certainly look and feel different. Some say technology has made life easier, others say technology has only made us dumb and dumber. Who doesn’t love how our GPS shows us the way to get to that new restaurant on Main Street in the center of town because we seem to have no idea where Main Street is, even though we’ve gone at least a thousand times before? Oh, and the fact that you don’t have to remember anyone’s phone number anymore because it’s all on your cell phone. Works great until you lose your cell phone and you can’t even call mom or dad to let them know you’ve lost your cell phone

Well. whether you love it or hate it, technology is here to stay and it’s making some things extinct. Like what, you ask Google, Siri, and Alexa? Well, if they don’t tell you, we will.

Here are 7 things that are going the way of dinosaurs because of technology…

woman holding card with macbook air on lap

What’s in your digital wallet?

Certainly not hard currency. If you are a Millennial, you probably use digital transactions for everything from paying rent to buying pizza to playing Fantasy Football. Millennials I know are surprised to hear that there was a time when we drove around with quarters in our car cup holder or door wells for tolls or parking meters. Or that we ran into the local 7-Eleven to buy something so we could get quarters back in change to pay for tolls or the vending machine in our office building. Research shows that a full 34% of adults under the age of 50 make no cash purchases in a typical week, compared to 23% of those 50 and older. Instead, we rely on credit cards or apps to pay for parking or even repay personal debts. (Speaking of tolls, remember your friendly toll booth attendants? Almost all tolls are now cashless.)

background beverage brown cafe

When’s the last time you used a dictionary, read a physical newspaper, or even saw a set of encyclopedias?

I tell this story frequently when describing the difference in technology. Back when my sons were in school (now 25 and 18), we bought our first laptop for the family to share (can you imagine sharing a laptop now?). We had a family rule that the one who had the most homework got the laptop first. Finding my two boys arguing over the laptop, I questioned what homework was due. My oldest diplomatically explained his need to finish a book report and suggested that my youngest could use our dictionary to look up his vocabulary words. I agreed. My youngest son just stared at us blankly That’s when I realized that this second-grader had never been taught to use the dictionary. And coming generations likely won’t be either.

Print isn’t dead (yet) but reading print editions of newspapers is definitely in the ICU. A recent announcement by Starbucks that the coffee chain will no longer sell newspapers (but for a limited time, will have complimentary access to online newspapers) is yet another sign of the demise of the daily print edition. So, if you like to grab a morning coffee at Starbucks and scan the headlines, you’ll have to bring your own paper or make sure you have your device handy (which you need anyway to pay for your coffee!).

white smartphone

Does a doctor even use a pager anymore?

Pagers? Just throw those on the pile along with phone books, VHS tapes, and floppy disks. In 1994 there were 61 million pagers in use. In 2019? 2 million. Cell phones killed pagers for the majority of people who used them. Once smartphone technology took over, pagers became so “last decade”.   

person holding telephone illustration

Remember calling 411?

That was the number you dialed for free when you didn’t have access to the yellow pages (remember the yellow pages!?) to help you find a business or residence phone number. I still remember the yellow pages tag line: “If it’s out there, it’s in here.” That could easily be the tagline for Google now. You can still dial 411 today but your cell service provider may charge you a fee, and besides, Google is free (so far!).

photo of cup near flat screen television

Did you know TV Guide is 66 years old and was once the highest revenue-generating magazine in the US?

Before the days of binge-watching on Netflix and Hulu, there was a time when a well-worn copy of the weekly TV Guide would arrive in the mailbox and sit on most coffee tables in America. Also available right in the checkout line at the grocery store, you could read all about your favorite soap opera star or prime time celebrity while you were waiting to pay for your cartload of food. Misplacing your copy would mean sitting next to the TV, and manually turning the channel looking to find something to watch. Thankfully, there weren’t as many channels.

letter envelopes

Where’s the postcard you received when your best friend went to see the Aurora Borealis in Iceland or the stack of love letters you exchanged with your SO?

This might be one of the saddest dinosaurs of technology. Now it’s all Facebook timeline photos, selfies of over-sized faces obscuring anything of interest, or Instagram posts to tell you about the vacation of a lifetime. And the rapid exchange of texts full of misspelled words, bad grammar, and emojis of yellow smiley faces with hearts for eyes is what passes for love letters these days…where is the poetry in that? But if you are lucky enough to get a postcard or letter in the mail, it most likely won’t be written in cursive, since that hasn’t been taught in schools since 2010.

door wooden bell old


Why go to the door when you can text “here”. Need we say more???

See you in the next blog!

Deb Fries is a freelance designer and writer and has worked with Julianna Rae in graphics and customer service, she now writes for the blog at juliannarae.com/blog.