Mixtapes and photo albums: What we miss in the digital era

5 February 2018, 09:14

In an era when a technically perfect playlist of your favourite tunes can be compiled in a matter of minutes, we miss making a mixtape, according to a survey.

For anyone too young to remember what such a thing was, a mixtape was often recorded from the Sunday afternoon top 40 chart show on the radio.

Requiring concentration, anticipation and quick reflexes, it involved recording your favourite songs on cassette while trying to avoid DJ chatter and radio station jingles.

Thus it also required skill and detailed knowledge - both of the DJ's propensity to chat at certain points, and of a song's in and out points.

Did the track finish, for example, or did it fade? Misjudge that, and it would be another seven days before you could try again.

In the poll of 2,000 adults, carried out for British Airways, making a mixtape was the thing people missed most among activities that have been replaced by digital alternatives.

Putting photos into albums, and recording films and TV shows using VHS tapes, were second and third.

Those questioned also missed sending love letters, or handwritten letters of any kind, sending postcards, buying CDs, using public telephones, remembering phone numbers, buying disposable cameras, and ringing the speaking clock.

But, of course, it works both ways. More than half those surveyed said they did not miss having to wait in the Post Office to renew their car tax, while 43% did not miss having to fax documents.

The survey also demonstrated the extent to which we now depend on technology, with 58% saying the majority of their activities relied heavily on it.

One in 10 felt lost if they were unable to go online, while a quarter felt completely cut off without Wi-Fi.

Adults spend an average of just over four hours a day on the internet.

Top 25 things we miss:

1. Making mixtapes

2. Put photos into albums

3. Recording films and TV shows using VHS

4. Having printed photos around the house

5. The excitement of having photographs developed before you can see them

6. Handwritten letters

7. Sending love letters

8. Sending postcards

9. Having pen friends

10. Buying CDs / having a CD collection

11. Using public telephones

12. Using a telephone directory

13. Carrying a portable CD player

14. Going into the travel agents to research a holiday

15. Buying disposable cameras

16. Turning to a hard copy of the Yellow Pages

17. Playing traditional board games or cards

18. Owning an encyclopaedia

19. Dialling directory enquiries

20. Visiting car boot sales to sell old stuff

21. Remembering phone numbers off by heart

22. Hand-writing essays /school work

23. Ringing the speaking clock

24. Trying on pairs of shoes on the high street

25. Dialling 1471 to see who called while you were out