Technology is taking away from human interaction

I am a video store clerk. Therefore, I am part of a dying breed. After about 15 years of monopolizing the home video rental market, it looks like Blockbuster is finally going out of business, and it’s not alone either. Borders bookstore has now filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy as well.

Clearly, the downfall of these massive companies is a signal that we are going through a permanent change in the way we obtain our media. When Netflix, Kindle and the iPad were introduced, I always thought of them as alternative options to the norm, but now it seems these products will soon be our only options.

Movie theater revenue is also on the decline due to on-demand services and online piracy. Theaters have had to raise ticket prices and resort to cheap gimmicks like 3D. Soon, newly released movies will be broadcast to be viewed from the comfort of your sofa.

I understand that convenience is a big factor when it comes to renting movies or buying books, but I feel like we are losing an important human connection now that everything is online. When I was young, I loved going to the local video store and browsing through the new releases, or going to a bookstore and finding something to read. It was an excuse to leave the house and go somewhere when there was nothing to do. We are now reaching a point where we almost never need to leave the house at all.

I’m usually not one to complain about technology, but I don’t think this is going to be a better world. I like interacting with other people every once in a while. My generation has seen the fall of record stores after the Internet took over the music industry. Now we will see the fall of video stores and eventually bookstores. How long will it be before Amazon.com closes down all the malls of the world?

The next time you want to watch a movie, go to a video store and ask the person working there if they have any recommendations. Or — if you want to read a book — try going to a bookstore and looking around. There are still some record stores around — like Fingerprints on Fourth St. — where you can find music you may have never heard of. There are advantages to actually physically shopping at a real location, even if it is just to have a brief conversation about music, or to ask if “127 Hours” is worth watching.

Growing up with the internet has made our lives easier in almost every way, but a computer will never be able to interact with you on a human level. Having an actual discussion with somebody is different than just reading a review online. I enjoy working at a video store because I get to have conversations with people I never would have met otherwise.

Matt Grippi is a junior journalism major and contributing writer for the Daily 49er.

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