Is the save icon a vending machine? Child's question about symbol goes viral
Four black floppy discs on white surface (Pexels)
Jeremiah Rodriguez, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Monday, August 12, 2019 10:04AM EDT
While floppy disks aren't regularly used to save anything on our computers anymore, the obsolete storage method is back in the spotlight thanks to one curious child.
Over the weekend, a tweet was posted of a young Microsoft Excel user in Japan asking: “Why is the SAVE ICON a 'Vending Machine (with) a Beverage dispensed?” The post has since gone viral with many on Twitter essentially being reminded of how old they are.
One user wrote that they found it “so weird kids and teens today are so ignorant of past technology like this.”
The online thread even became a Twitter Moment on the social-media platform. Some people lamented how younger generations might not have any idea of the origins of the save icon.
The floppy disk, otherwise known as simply a disk, a floppy, or a diskette, became a ubiquitous form of data storage from the 1970s until the early 2000s. During the advent of computer programs such as Microsoft Word, programmers simply adopted the floppy disk as the symbol for saving one’s work.
“Would a 10 (year old) in 2019 even know what a VHS tape is at this point, much less a Floppy Disc?” one user wrote, referring to the analog video recording system from the 1970s that was widely used until the early 21st century.
But many online, presumably outside of Japan, are asking why the youngster associated the icon with a vending machine. Well, there may be some cultural factors playing in.
“This feels oddly culturally specific to Japanese vending machines with the wider display window and the cash mechanism underneath, whereas the North American type usually has taller windows with the cash mechanism on the side,” one Twitter user pointed out.
In Japan, there are approximately five million vending machines in the whole country which works out to one vending machine for every 23 people, according to the Japan Vending Machine Manufacturers Association.
When kids ask what a VHS tape is pic.twitter.com/VFXWEECKLH— Jake (@Jakd0r_) August 11, 2019
I internally screeched 'I'M STILL YOUNG' as soon as I saw this.— Chris Cooney (@chris_cooney) August 11, 2019
It's about time the floppy disk symbol gets replaced. It served us well, but it must go.— Rafael Pereira (@rafarlp_) August 11, 2019
This feels oddly culturally specific to Japanese vending machines with the wider display window and the cash mechanism underneath, whereas the North American type usually has taller windows with the cash mechanism on the side. pic.twitter.com/mfRTvC7mYv— ☂️ Kelvin ☂️ (@mrchan) August 11, 2019