DigiEx

digital, agencies, life, and other stuff

The 1980’s – a lot to answer for?

Posted by Lee on May 24, 2009

The 1980’s, a decade of indulgence, bad fashion, big hair, and even bigger shoulder pads.

gecko with mobileAnd it wasn’t just the hair and shoulder pads that were huge. Big egos, big aspirations and a huge hunger for success all combined to make the 80’s the decade of greed. Who can forget the immortal line, “Greed is good”, as used by Gordon Gecko, the stockbroker anti-hero in the movie Wall Street?

In the early 80’s, mobile phones were relatively new, and the size of house bricks. IBM launched the home PC in 1981 and most of us were using MS-DOS until the arrival of Windows in 1985. Mass browsing on the World Wide Web would take another 9 years, when the Mosaic browser was launched.

What’s truly amazing is that many of us remember the  80’s but cannot recall how technology has moved along since then.

So, what has changed in the last 3 decades? Thankfully, the physical dimensions of most things personal – hair, shoulder pads, mobile phones, computers have all reduced dramatically. “Greed is good”, the ethos of the 80’s, isn’t a popular stance in our current times. Conspicuous consumerism is no longer cool and vulgar displays of wealth are tacky. Thrift is the new  black, and although size is everything, now it’s all about down-sizing – cars, homes, jewelery, weddings, mobile devices, laptops and stereo systems are just a few examples. Now, ‘Small is good’, just as long as it performs exceptionally well.rubik cube

Geek toys were also around in the 80’s – and they have their modern equivalents. Check out this Wired article.

However, before we merely write the 80’s off as the ‘bad taste’ decade, remember that it was also the time of the emergence of consumer based mobile and personal computing technologies,  the predecessors of our i-phones, Blackberries and always-on home media centres.

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