16th Feb2017

3 Surprising Ways Technology is Reviving Old Traditions

by James Smith

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Usually, technology has a reputation for undermining traditional things. Whether it’s the latest smartphone or a lowly OS update, there persists, in the general population, a reluctance and bitterness concerning tech’s unstoppable advance: it’s felt up and down the country that if we’d managed to say no to MacBook pros and Pokémon Go and widgets, then just maybe there’d still be Morris dancers out on a Sunday – just maybe.

However, it’s more likely that this simply isn’t true. Although technology has accelerated the rate of change, both in this country and across the globe, it has often found ways of bringing old traditions along for the ride: rejuvenating, re-purposing and re-imagining them. So, in many ways, it’s not such a bad thing for some traditions we thought had been long gone.

Here, we look at three features of yesteryear that technology has altered – and restored.

Bingo Moves from the Hall to the Screen

With bingo seemingly on the decline in Britain and the explosion of the gaming industry, it would be easy to put the disappearance of this once-great UK tradition down as yet another casualty of relentless, screen-based entertainment. But this would be wrong.

While some bingo halls are closing, bingo websites are making the game more popular than ever – and actually among new demographics. With the game’s players being increasingly young, the question must be asked, what is it about online bingo that’s so attractive to new audiences?

The answer is that online bingo simply offers far more flexibility than its “analogue” counterpart. A site like mFortune allows its customers to pay their bingo deposit by phone bill and has a range of added benefits including a VIP program, auto-checking of bingo cards, a £5 sign-up bonus and a dedicated mobile app for those who want to play while on the go.

Audiobooks Represent a Return to Tradition

Before the printing press, and the alphabet, and symbols, and recorded language of any kind – there was speech. Though stories and narration have been a common feature of human society for a very long time, the primary vessel for their transmission has been non-vocal for only the last 7,000 or so years.

The neurological hardware that flares to life during the process of reading is very closely connected to the part of the brain which controls hearing. So, in a sense, we are decoding the words on the page only so our minds may translate the text back into internally “heard” language. From here, it follows that the audiobook represents a return to natural ways of experiencing stories. It’s also a boost for the book industry for sure.

Online Communities Could Be a First Step Back to Kids Playing Together Again

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As any baby boomer will tell you, before the advent of the console and the nail-biting that now goes on around children’s safety, the streets were awash with happy children engaged in a wholesome array of activities. Then came the proliferation of TV and Nintendo into every living room, and the laughter (supposedly) faded away. Of course it’s not as clear cut as that, but the concern with children spending more time indoors than outdoors is a real one.

But where technology taketh, technology can return. New research shows a strong link between kids’ social skills and the amount of gaming they do online. Which goes to show that although today’s youth are somewhat bound to their devices, they might be onto something with all that time spent glued to the screen – they may, in fact, be trying to return to that social world which the non-online games of the 90s and noughties first occluded.

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