Artifact Politics – iPod

ipod

The iPod, first introduced in 2001, has revolutionized the way we listen to music in our everyday lives. Before this invention, a person would have to listen to music straight from the album that they picked up at the music store. Before the iPod and other mp3 players of its time, a person would be limited to how much music they could fit onto one CD, typically 700MB of space. This made it difficult to have any real variety of music without carrying hundreds of CDs around everywhere you went. This level of variety was impossible to achieve before the iPod. After the invention of the iPod, a person could very conveniently put nearly as much music onto the device as they could possibly think of! All of this, in a very user-friendly format that allowed the user to quickly find any artist and song and play it with ease.

The iPod’s political arrangement can be argued as a democratic one. I see it as democratic in the sense that you have the personal freedom to choose for yourself what music to put onto this device, usually influenced by the radio or by family and friends. You have the ability to buy music from iTunes, or import music from any other folder on your computer. Apple does not restrict the user from putting any certain genre or any specific album onto the device. Therefore, the user has complete control over the music that is placed onto the device.

Despite everything that is great about the iPod, there is a negative aspect of it and other similar devices. That is, the effect that it has in our society in a social or public setting. As the amount of us who listen to our mp3 players in a social setting increase, it has caused us to become more anti-social(1) and less likely to speak to another person while on a bus, in a store, or any other public scenario. We tend to zone out and essentially ignore everyone else around us. We let the music put us in our own world and only acknowledge others when it’s convenient or absolutely necessary. This is now common practice in our society. One could argue that this social phenomenon was brought about by the adaptation to iPod’s and portable mp3 players into our culture. We are still able to use non-verbal communication in some cases, but it is very easy to become isolated from what is going on in these scenarios.

A new kind of social affinity has been created among iPod users. As with all Apple products(and many other widely used brands), there’s a sense of community attached to those who use them. Every one that owns an iPod is exposed to the same software. They can go online and find answers to any problem on countless forums made for iPod users. They have the ability to have their entire music library in their pocket and quickly bring up any song for listening when a song is brought up in conversation. Also, they have the ability to share their music library with each other for free.

Footnotes:

  1. “Has the IPod Made Us Anti-social?” BBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2015. <http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-15066957&gt;.
  2. Image: http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5273e2a669bedd7c06afe99f/image.jpg
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8 thoughts on “Artifact Politics – iPod”

  1. I disagree. I don’t think mp3 players are what made people dislike interacting with others. For example my parents grew up before mp3 players yet they still do not want to talk with anyone, yet I have a friend that is only 20 and he talks to everyone regardless of the fact that strangers generally do not want to talk to random people. It just depends on the personality. I see the iPod less as something that makes me less likely to talk to someone on the bus and more as something that will protect me from being talked to on the bus.

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  2. Almost everywhere you go, you will people listening to music with headphones in. I agree that the iPod could be seen as democratic in the way that the user has all choice of their songs. Although there are many ways that one could be influenced towards certain songs, it still comes down to the users decision of what songs to choose. I agree with both of you on the argument of what iPods have done to communication. Obviously, on one side, people have their different personalities, some outgoing and some shy, so this plays the biggest role. However, it seems impossible that it hasn’t changed communication at all. If we took away all the iPods from every person, there would surely be more communication in at least public settings.

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  3. You have captured what I too consider to be possible isolation when you mention that the user can somewhat space out from reality and civilization, in a sense. It is true, in my opinion, that iPods can actually bring up conversation when discussing songs and I think you highlighted the right aspects when considering the select pros and cons for this particular invention. Something to add is that I think the invention of the iPod and MP3 player both have in common that these devices can actually enhance or change the users mood. For example, if you are about to take an exam, it is very helpful to have this device on hand to boost up your mood to take the exam; whereas, if you were to not have the device, maybe that would damper your spirits. Thus, potentially resulting in a worst grade. Good Work!

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  4. I like the fact that you categorized the iPod as democratic. One of the essential features of the iPod, and mp3 players in general, is that you can choose whatever song you want, when you want. You are not burdened by the randomness of the radio, nor the largeness of, say, a CD player. Each person has his or her own say in how to use it. I also agree with how iPods, at times, can lead to us being more anti-social. You see people always listening to them on the bus when they could be having a conversation with the person next to them.

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  5. Your post is very similar to mine in that portable music players have made society antisocial and has shifted the norms of behavioral society. Students not only listen to music on commutes but also while doing homework and chores. Apparently, studies show that you actually do worse while listening to music and you perform significantly better when working in silence. Music is a good thing but it’s just so integrated into our lives that we can’t really do much.
    I would agree though, we’re just so used to it that without music, silence may drive us insane but we wouldn’t be able to live without it.

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  6. Nowadays people can listening to music whenever they want and they seem anti-social. I agree with that, so I seldom use my iPod or iPhone when I am at somewhere outside my room. I just want to enjoy good music in a peace, and tried to avoid to be an “anti-social” person. And I think “isolated” means isolation from the scenarios nearby, and sometimes people may be isolated from their work. Sometimes I don’t want to get bored when I’m doing my homework. So I turned on my iPod and soon I found that I was distracted. As for the homework I was doing, it was ignored for a while or there was some careless mistakes. Don’t use iPod or some other stuff to listen to music while you are doing some kind of important work just because you may be isolated from your work as well.

    Another aspect which I agree is about the democracy within iPod. Sometimes when I picked up some songs I played many times before (that means it has been a long time since I listened to them last time), some memories came up. The music in my iPod is another diary for me. Thanks to the democracy within it, I got a special record of my life. People have freedom to build personal music libraries, there’s no doubt that iPod is more democratic than Walkman with tapes or CDs and larger CD players.

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  7. Nice job going through the positive and negatives of having an iPod. I agree that is a great piece of technology, and has now grew into something bigger from merely an iPod to iPhone and to iPad. Is a constantly changing technology that develops through time, but unfortunately has made society more anti-social. We see this everyday when you want to interact with someone, but they are listening to music and cannot be bothered, and at times people try to hold a convo while still listening to their music. Great post!

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  8. Hello, I enjoyed your blog post on iPod’s because I touched on the iPod revolution in mine on iTunes. I can see your view that the iPod has democratic politics, giving the user controls over what they listen to and freedom and privacy to listen to music. Although, it has made us as a society more anti-social and turn inwards more, I would argue that for some this isn’t such a bad thing to allow us to be absorbed in our own world by listening to music.

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