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.
- “Has the IPod Made Us Anti-social?” BBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2015. <http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-15066957>.
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