Dibbell, Monson, and Benjamin- Three Different Eras of Collecting

The three essays we read are based on collecting and gathering art, words, and pieces of information in one place. Monson talks about mix CDs, Benjamin talks about book collections and Dibbell talks about Napster and the beauty of “freeing” the music which was private once. The three pieces were written in different stages of information gathering and technology, thus they all have different views regarding collections of books and music.

Dibbell, I must say, has a really positive view on the modernity of collection. He acknowledges that they are not physical as before, but that the fact that they can be set free and shared- makes them precious. I certainly agree with him since I couldn’t picture myself going back to the 90s, to the times in which in order to listen to many songs from different artists I had to have a mix CD to put on my discman or Walkman, or rather have different CDs in a case and listen to a song at a time from each one. However, I understand where Benjamin and Monson come from, in terms of the love they had for their collections and the nostalgia they should feel knowing that times were going to change and technology would make all those disappear eventually. For instance, I refuse to read a book on Kindle version- it’s simply not the same as turning the pages and smelling them in a brand new book.

I believe that in the time of CDs, cassettes, and large library collections, there was some kind of passion towards one’s collections since there was some kind of effort put behind it. From getting the money to buy the CD or book, to appreciation to the person that gave it as a present. There was also some kind of pride in having it and the fact that there was an action that had to precede been able to listen to it or read it- made it more special. For instance, to play the CD, you had to put it inside your Walkman and hit play or put it inside a stereo while gathered with the family. I believe there was also some kind of social aspect into it and that’s another thing that made it more special. In the other hand, today, we can access music and books easily since they are all over the internet, but the achievement feeling when having and the social aspect/effort behind are totally gone.

All in all, I disagree with Dibbell when he criticizes Benjamin for feeling such love and appreciation towards his book collection. Aren’t we all allowed to feel like that towards something that we’re proud of or put some effort in? I’m sure he would appreciate how the internet has evolved and allowed everyone to access information, as me, but also would still fell proud of his collection and enjoy the smell of a brand new book.

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