What is it about?

This article looks at how the digital revolution affected design and communication by examining a 1980s TV advertisement. The advert, made during the rise of desktop publishing, shows a young man trying to convert an old cine film of his father to videotape for his mother's birthday. This storyline highlights the shift from analogue to digital technologies and the challenges that came with it. The paper uses this ad to illustrate challenges and mixed feelings people had about new technologies back then. By reflecting on these past narratives, the paper draws parallels to today's digital challenges, offering insights into how we can understand and navigate current and future transitions in technology and media. The ad serves as a creative tool to compare past and present challenges, helping us learn from history to better address the ongoing digital revolution.

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Why is it important?

It provides a historical perspective on the ongoing digital revolution, helping us understand the challenges and opportunities it presents. By examining a 1980s TV ad during a major technological shift, the paper draws parallels to today's transitions from analogue to digital technologies. This reflection allows us to learn from past experiences, shedding light on how people adapted to changes and what we can apply to current and future technological advancements as they affect the design, media, and communication industries.


Looking back at narratives of people navigating the shift from analogue to digital technologies, may help better understand our own journey through today's digital revolution.

Dr Yaron Meron
University of Sydney

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: ‘What a funny looking video’: Using allegorical representations of technological change to reflect on future digital communication and design challenges, Media Culture & Society, February 2024, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/01634437241231875.
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