It has been about a year now since I closed down my Facebook account. No one noticed or questioned my absence. Only one user out of about 200 or so ‘Friends’ noticed and questioned what happened after 48 hours of me closing my account. Only ONE person. It’s not like I am hard to find or hidden. My own web site domains have been online for 15 years. It’s made me feel like I am a shitty person for making the choice of not participating in the Greatest Social Media Entertainment of all time. Which isn’t real.
There soon will be an entire generation that grew up in the age of online. Everything they did in the past will still be with them in the present and into their future. Middle aged people are now facing their children becoming adults, but what did all the middle aged people and their parents do to preserve the past?
Previously people have used photography as a means to preserve the past. You would take yearly Christmas photos, the classic photo op on summer vacations. For many years it was film based photography, which had it’s limits in the cost of the film and then developing the exposed film. This created an artificial scarcity due to the cost. You would treasure those moments and make them special by taking a photograph. Film wasn’t as popular, but it was readily available. They were available for film but it was cumbersome, not very good, no sound, and expensive. This limited the use and created an even greater scarcity of home movies. The first great leap forward for this type of past preservation was the release of video tape recorders and home market cameras. These bulky devices were still in the realm of hobbyist type usage. Then the home market video camera is unleashed. There is now an unprecedented amount of our past preserved on video tape. Most of it was all ignored, pushed off into the closet, collecting dust or forgotten about. Some, or perhaps a lot was over written or stored improperly to be forever in the past.
Is this what we really wanted when preserving the past? To shove it off into a box to be forgotten? People seem to have a tendency to create their own narrative of their life, whether it reflects reality or not. It’s just part of how we work. When we relive the past and then see what we were, that may change or bend the narrative we’ve created for ourselves. How our reaction to it will be different for everyone’s experience and how their experience put them on their path. It’s those gaps of time from the past to the present that gives us this reflection. Now can you imagine, no gap from the past to the present?
There is an emerging generation that has grown up entirely with the Internet and it’s massive ability to preserve, everything. How will this and the preceding generations deal with this shift in how our past is preserved?