Take control of technology by looking to the past

As part of the older millennial group, I am fortunate enough to have a unique perspective. I didn’t grow up with a mobile phone—in fact, it wasn’t until college that I owned one. I studied abroad without any GPS technology and I still found my way. Technology has since become a major part of my life; however, I have the advantage of experiencing handwritten letters, pay phones, hardbound textbooks, floppy disks, VHS tapes, cassette tapes (and then CDs) and so on.

Sure, all of these still exist in some form, but they used to be the only way to communicate, learn and be entertained.

In one of my favorite films, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, a sales clerk at the famous jewelry store finds out Cracker Jack boxes still have prizes. “That’s nice to know. It gives one a feeling of solidarity, almost of continuity, with the past, that sort of thing,” he observed.

This line has always resonated with me, as I deliberately find a way to recognize the past every day—especially when the fast-paced, technology driven world becomes overwhelming. Wearing vintage clothes, using a bluetooth keyboard that looks and sounds like a typewriter or just listening to The Beatles, are some of the ways that help me feel a connection to the past.

To experience an “old-fashioned” method of creating a business document, I decided to transcribe my previous blog post on a typewriter. Among many of my grandmother’s possessions I kept is a Smith-Corona Coronet XL typewriter (circa 1970s). A sturdy piece of machinery, lifting it out of it’s case was possibly the biggest challenge. When I flipped the “on” switch, the warm, familiar hum greeted me. I must admit, the clacking of the keys was not bothersome as it was an audible reminder of each letter’s purpose.


Although our industry will never revert to a typewriter, I was able to take away a few lessons:

  1. Take your time. Write out your thoughts, if possible with pen and paper without the glare of the computer screen. If I had not written this out beforehand, I most likely would have several grammatical errors, run-on sentences, undeveloped thoughts, etc.
  2. Type with purpose. The moment I felt confident and began typing faster, I made mistakes. Without the luxury of autocorrect or a spelling checker, it becomes obvious we have let ourselves become dependent on them. In this case, I covered errors with whiteout, then realigned the paper to type over the exact area.
  3. Appreciate technology. Take heed though—technology can easily have irrevocable consequences. However, if you appreciate modern tools (like the much needed delete/backspace key), and understand what you can accomplish with the time saved, you can take control of technology.

My finished document—about 30 minutes to type and correct.

esd provides both traditional and digital marketing support to our clients. For each client, we find the most efficient combination of these tactics to achieve their goals.


Kristen Villarreal is a part of the account service team for esd. She loves all things vintage and often finds inspiration by looking to the positive attributes of the past, weaving them into the modern day perspective.

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