Better Never Than Early

earlyadopterI recently discovered this pretty nifty little device called an iPhone – it’s kind of like an iPod but you can make calls on it and apparently it’s all the rage. I decided I should probably buy one and I’m feeling awesome about my decision. I’ve been raving about it to all my friends, who stare at me in the same pitiful way they did in 2010 when I told them about Craigslist, or last month when I told them about Skype. For someone who works in social media and has been in the wireless industry for more than ten years, I’m not what you’d call an early adopter.

Trends don’t slip by me entirely unnoticed – I do read back issues of Vogue at the doctor’s office – but I tend to let them settle in for a few years and see how they fare before jumping on the better-late-than-never bandwagon. I’m still finishing up the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series and I own just two pair of skinny jeans. Unless it’s a movie (I’m a cinematic over-adopter), if people are talking about it, I tend to avoid it.

I’m not sure how the trendy gene passed me by. My grandma got her first pair of UGGs straight from Australia in the 80s, my dad bought two of those first $1000 VCRs, and my mom had a cutting-edge perm for most of my childhood. I, on the other hand, tiptoed into the colored jeans trend with an inconspicuous shade of blue and still use the word “rad” regularly.

So because rationalizing one’s shortcomings is an important part of personal growth, I feel I must explain why it’s ok that I don’t eat quinoa, I’ve never read the Harry Potter series, and I refuse to acknowledge the existence of 3D TVs.

I’m cheap: While some of the greatest trends of our time weren’t so pricey (pet rocks, Garbage Pail Kids, Google +); some sting quite a bit more when their fifteen minutes of fame is up – as anyone with a laser disc collection, a segway, or stock in Facebook can attest.

I’m lazy: If you wait around long enough… the book becomes a movie, the phone price drops, the TV profile slims, and the peplum goes out of style (please).

I’m impatient: Even if supplies are restricted, seats are limited, or Elmos are ticklish, nothing sounds as miserable as standing in line overnight to be the very first one to do something that I can do tomorrow – or in three years – without waiting.

I’m chicken: What if I can’t pull off statement sunglasses? What if I get the new iPad and then the iPad17 comes out? What if I cut bangs and look like Angelica Huston?

I’m a follower: Being on the forefront of technology, fashion, and entertainment is an amazing talent – for other people. While I’m up to date on the blogs, charts, and best-seller lists, before I read Lean In or wear TOMS, I need proof of concept from someone I know. I learned this lesson the hard way by reading Fifty Shades of Grey.

While in 1990 I had just about the coolest crimped and Rave-spackled locks in all of Sarah Adams Elementary, it’s been quite a long time since I was on the cutting edge of anything. I like to think my approach has saved me time, money and agony, but I’m not gonna lie – I really wish I figured out this iPhone thing earlier.

Are you an early adopter or not? What trends are you glad you avoided? Any you wish you got to sooner?

Related Posts: Voice of Unreason: No, I’ve Never Seen the Godfather, Fifteen Minutes of Food Fame

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About WhiteElephantInTheRoom

I'm an 80s music lover, traveling junkie, mac & cheese connoisseur, amateur wine snob, party-planning priestess and Chicago transplant living in Southern California. I find adventure in the everyday and have a unending compulsion to write about it. Hope you enjoy reading my mind!
This entry was posted in 80s, Commentary, Friends, Humor, Nostalgia, Phone, Social Media and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

68 Responses to Better Never Than Early

  1. Hope says:

    I could have written this list. I’m now in my late 50’s and regret not at least taking some fashion chances in my youth (didn’t have the funds back in the day). I’m inclined to care less and less about being judged these days, but a 50-something in bright yellow stacked shoes looks ridiculous.

  2. Jayme says:

    Ha! I am not alone! Glad I stumbled upon your blog 🙂

  3. I always thought I was in the same boat, but I’ve recently come to the realization that I’m a hipster (posted on this recently). And I think you’re a lot more trendy then you think. Even with taking old people out of the equation (figuratively, not literally), it’s a big country. There’s a lot of people still very much living in the 80s. And not in a good way.

  4. K. Jean King says:

    First I would like to say your posts are PHENOMENAL. The organizational style alone gives me that same feeling I’d get watching my middle school crush in the hallways – happily weepy.

    As far as technology goes…the other day I went to call my husband on his cell phone. And just as I went to dial his number on my ROTARY phone, I gave pause because for some reason trying to call a cell phone from a rotary didn’t seem like it would work.

  5. I am years behind when it comes to technology – still have a boombox – ha! Have a Great Day:)

  6. stevebetz says:

    I wouldn’t worry. I’m pretty sure this whole internet thing is a fad.

  7. I recently wrote a post lamenting my lack of “getting” Twitter. On the one hand, lots of people commented that they were similarly out of touch with Tweeting. On the other hand, lots more people were too busy writing about their latest trip to the potty in 140 characters or less to care about my dopey blog so….I’m not sure who’s better off.

    Speaking of being out of touch with the latest great thing, nice gravatar pic!

  8. Bella says:

    I passed on a lot of trends in the 80’s and 90’s because I didn’t want to be like everybody else. Now I miss out because I have a family and I cant afford it 🙂

  9. Spastic Sausage says:

    Definitely not an early adopter, trend setter or even follower here. Mostly because I’m far too cheap to jump on most bandwagons and a little out of spite towards those who blindly do. I also refuse to own an ‘I’ anything just because but in the back of my mind I worry just a little that I might be missing out 😛

  10. tineypage828 says:

    I only three words. Read Harry Potter.

  11. I love your posts, thanks for making me laugh. I feel just like you about technology, I am in no way an early adopter of anything. It took major bribing to get me to join Facebook in college (which I thought was a fad) I still don’t have a smartphone and I refuse to wear that technicolor crap at the Gap. I like being a little behind I guess :-).

  12. sandyawad12 says:

    iPhones, I hate them. I mean what are they up to now, iPhone 20. Every year my friends get new phones because they can’t be left behind in the world of technology, they claim it will make them ill. I’m probably the only 15 year old in the planet that doesn’t have a phone, let alone an iPhone, and frankly, I love. I don’t mind being cheap, I don’t mind missing out on their new updates and mostly, I don’t mind costing my parents hundreds on something that is new one minute and old the next.
    Great post😃

  13. Christopher says:

    I have to say I think I’m an early-ish adopter. I tend to wait until I save up the cash, and something drops in price the first time or becomes easily avaiable. I also tend to wait until I believe all the major bugs have been worked out.
    Sometimes I’m wrong (thanks Sony Mini-Disc) and sometimes I’m right (Suck it HD DVD). I think it works out best for everyone if they just go at their own pace, however rapid or glacial it may be.
    Good luck with your New-Fangled (I love ‘Fangled’, don’t you?) iPhone.

  14. I tend to avoid trends!!! I research the product etc find out it it’s truly useful to me. I find out if it will simplify my life or complicate it. Is it a real need or just some want I will discard later. Well I don’t have an iPad yet… Cost… However I have an iPhone and I have my second. I love it and my two older kids have one. My youngest is DeafBlind and soon he will get an iPad with a Braille reader and we will be communicating some with Braille. He will be able to send us texts and emails eventually… I wish I had not waited for the iPhone. I’m on my 5th year with one… But I’m with you… I don’t like the line… Like Taylor swift? I don’t follow a trend… But she is true talent from a writer to a singer… The whole family agrees on a singer and so we follow. We check out the trend and decide “is it for us?” Most times it a “no”! 🙂 love your post!

  15. Jen says:

    I love technology: it has buttons I can press. So I tend to be an early adopter of tech, and I am more likely to browse PC World than River Island. I love my iPhone; saves me carrying a diary, a calculator, and several reference books (which other people will steal) at work. Plus I can use it to ring people up.
    On the other hand, I tend to be a never-adopter of fashion. Ugg boots? Why? They’re ugly, not hardwearing, and they don’t have kevlar toecaps. Skinny jeans… aren’t they… well, just jeans for skinny people? (And they don’t have decent pockets.) And do not get me started on tops that make everybody who wears them look pregnant. 😦 When it comes to fashion, sometimes I suspect I may be missing the point.
    I was a late adopter of Facebook – probably because I’m a hopeless communicator so another venue for being hopeless in didn’t really appeal. But I’m trying to make it work for me.

    I adopt because it’s useful, or because it’s fun. Never because other people are doing it. But equally, I don’t avoid a trend just because it’s a trend.

  16. dirk says:

    I’m glad i found your blog! You write wonderful!
    On behalf of trends i don’t give a rats-ass about them, i’m sort of early adopter on some things, but sceptic on others and in some i just don’t care. For example i get the new iPhone on launch day, delivered to my door, every year. I don’t have an iPad, or the latest Computer, i don’t go to Starbucks, wear Chucks or skinny or hug trees! Have had a G+ account since the invitation program started and barely use it, don’t really like Google, App.net account, like to test beta software, i even got a dev account on facebook to get the “new” one months ahead.
    I don’t like this retro fashion on clothes. Or this all colorful shoes combined with T-shirt and baseball cap.

    • Thanks so much dirk! I think I just might also have a neglected Google+ account..Wonder what’s going on in there…

      • dirk says:

        Actually not much. I barely use Google services at all. Not really that big of a facebook alternative, which inalso somehow despise. Also if you look around there are not that many cross posts from G+ to other platforms or so. And i haven’t actually seen much of a movement there. A lot of my acquaintances got the account because it was new and everybody was talking about it. Now 80% or so don’t even use it. Some don’t even have 1 post or profile pic. So you’re not really missing anything.

  17. It took my cousin years to convince me to join Facebook. And I really only started getting into it when I got my iPhone. I got the original iPad a week before the second one came out. I’m no an early adopter but I get into things eventually.

  18. It is quite funny actually because there are times where I consider myself to be on the upside of the “hip new happening” things out in todays society, (like cell phones, I always have whatever I think is the best new one) But then there are other times where I’m just like you. I would rather sit by and see how far a trend gets before jumping onto the band wagon.

    Thanks for this blog! I’m really glad I came across it. Lots of good reads :]

  19. atanl says:

    I personally skipped the iPhone fad.. haha! That didn’t really catch my attention.. I think could be cos too many people are using it and its become too common place.
    No regrets about this though 🙂 I’m actually glad that I’m not part of the iPhone mob.. heh

  20. atanl says:

    Great post by the way!

  21. GreatJucz56 says:

    Thanks for your blog.
    I’m not really an adopter or a joiner so I tend to sit on the sidelines when new trends come out. Because of my rogue mentality, the only kinda trendy tech item I own is an Ipod. I did recently buy a “crack-berry” because my Branch Manager said it would come in handy for my business. I’ve been cursing it every day since it arrived!
    At the expense of sounding like a ranter, I believe that fads and trends, whether in technology, fashion or home decor are simply marketing ploys to make certain we continue to consume. Our economy depends on it! I try not to be annoyed at the person in the express line at the grocery store talking on their “bluetooth” while the cashier, and the rest of us, are waiting for them to swipe their debit card.
    Alas; technology speeds some things up while slowing down others. Opps! Got a little too breathy on the response 😦

  22. nathanjedi says:

    That’s two great posts, now I’m following. I was never sure whether I adapt quickly to trends or not. On one hand, I sometimes totally deny the existence of a new technology as ridiculous (then it gets popular, and I feel stupid). On the other hand, if it fits in my view of what is possible, go on right ahead, sign me up!

    Unless it’s fashion. Why do people care?!

  23. L. Palmer says:

    I am a bit of a tech nerd, but like to wait to be a mid-adopter, or the second phase. For example, with tablets, I waited about 2 years after Android tablets came out and am now very happy with the lower-priced, high-powered tablet I bought last summer. I’m okay with waiting, buying a satisfactory, though less-expensive, mid-age or range device – get all the shininess, but with less of a price tag.

  24. Im a 20 year old college student and you would think that I would be on top of all the latest “trends” right? Ehh i’m like you, I’m lazy, cheep and would rather wait for things to not cost an arm and a leg. Mostly because I don’t have the money… Anyway, I am a firm believer that all the greatest music came out of the late 70’s-late 80’s. I REFUSE to get caught up in the terrible non- musical music that is the staple of this decade. I have close to 8,000 songs in my iTunes Library and 90% are from decades I was not alive for.. Oops..

  25. Orsacora says:

    Ooo, I love this. I’m hooked upon my first reading. Does that make me a trend flake? Egad! I think you had me at “I still use the word ‘rad’ regularly”. For some strange reason, that word just won’t leave my vocabulary. And our Dad’s seemed to have been affected by the same ‘attack of the killer electronic monster’. I can’t do the iphone though. Not yet. That is were I throw in the towel. (note: both my parents are on their fifth round of the latest apple phone. Maybe that’s what’s stopping me from diving in….)

    Thanks for making me laugh and smile and think about all of my own, trendy memories!

  26. scattysue says:

    This is a great piece! You are trendier than me though, I don’t have an i-phone. Why not? I’m too cheap! What does it do? Makes calls – my old mobile can do that, Surfs the Net – laptop does that just fine thankyou. Watch TV – erm I have a TV. When they are as cheap as chips, I’ll pounce though. He, he. New follower.

  27. tmarthaller says:

    I too am cheap, lazy, impatient, chicken and a follower. I would also throw in boycotter just for fun. The biggest thing for me is that I dont embrace change very well. If its not broke, why fix it?? Although I am finding lately that industries (whether it be fashion, technology or whatever) will just discontinue my favorite products forcing me to get on the band wagaon. I must say tho, I do love the iPhone…

  28. kitchenmudge says:

    Writing from a Windows XP machine now. Works just fine for eight years so far (knock on wood). I never buy the latest & greatest of anything, nor any Apple product, explained here:
    http://kitchenmudge.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/not-a-techie/

  29. I’m an early adopter, I follow tech news like a hawk, ready to pounce on a new phone, tablet or computer. Unboxing a new device makes me giddy, yeah it’s a sickness 🙂

  30. Pre-witched says:

    I don’t usually follow trends but once in a blue moon something will catch my eye. The iphone was out for years before I got one. I debated for a while and I’m glad I did. As for Fifty Shades of Grey, wish I never bothered. That’s one trend I wish I had ignored…

  31. Emma says:

    Your post could’ve been me talking! I drive my husband nuts because he is all about what’s the hot new thing is (especially when it comes to technology) me however…I do not even own a pair of skinny jeans or a bright colored pair of pants! If my hair was long enough I would still be wearing scruntchies! 🙂 I do have an iPhone but it is several years old and it was a gift. I just started wearing flats this year. I also just discovered Craigslist last year when I was looking for an apartment!

  32. Love your blog! I do adopt (or is that adapt?) Whether early or late depends on my whim. Truthfully, I’m very impatient. I speed read through instructions. Have been known to place Slot A in Opening G. So if the latest whatever can’t be intuited or requires a careful course of study, chances are I’ve either ignored it or I’m doing it, but doing it wrong.
    Thanks for the delightful observations.

  33. kunpie says:

    I take solace that there are people out there, as un-hipster as myself when dealing with fads, and the never ending evolution of electronics. Even if I had an interest, I couldn’t keep up. It’s tiring.

  34. tifferzzz says:

    I’m not really an early adopter. Mainly cause I am cheap. I did finally buy an iPhone though, and i love it. I beat you by about a year. 🙂

  35. esterdeluna says:

    Cool blog! What a great read to brighten up my day… XD And oh by the way, I don’t own any skinny jeans (YEt, HAHA). I probably should by one now? What do you think?

  36. HeartSpace says:

    I’m just now about to get an Iphone. No way I was going to pay hundreds of dollars for a phone, so I waited for my free upgrade!

  37. Haha I catch on so late with trends people are already past them when I finally enjoy it…just like the IPhone…I love it except it autocorrects everything and makes texting long messages a nightmare

  38. Nicholiovich says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with you. Mainstream society has become this ADHD child and I’ve had flus longer than any of the trends have lasted.

  39. doctor_laura says:

    I love this! Very relatable. When I was a kid we had way less money than the rich kids in our neighbourhood so we got everything WAY after all my friends (my Nintendo came with Mario 3 and two controllers, not the Mario/Duck Hunt combo with a controller and a gun like my friends. For shame!) I think as I got older I just started wearing my delayed adoption of anything trendy as a badge of honour.
    Thanks for the great post!
    ~Laura
    http://copycatfashionista.wordpress.com

  40. Pingback: Gizmos and Gadgets Aplenty | White Elephant in the Room

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