The digital age is like a fast lane, navigating it both as a consumer or as a producer of information can feel like riding the German Autobahn. Timelines are perpetual. We can’t grasp the past that easily, all is in the present-tense, but becomes past so rapid the moment the pieces of information dissappear for instance from your Facebook newsfeed screen.
There exists this massive, humongous, beyond our wildest imagination archive of collective human memory stored forever in the internet’s metaphorical brain. All our activities are stored in theses archives. I imagine my information stored in digital manila folders, with the labels: “Nadia Dresscher”. We constantly leave footprints, like crumbles of bread, that one day can help us reconstruct our human memory. If a comet ever hits Earth and the hard-drives of the digital social infrastructure survives, we can tell the story of human culture just as digital cultural analyst Lev Manovich preaches. Have you ever searched yourself on Google? And were you astonished with the findings? Did you come across that comment you posted in that specific Manga lover’s Forum in 1999?
Our digital self goes on, it is in a dynamic ongoing state, it doesn’t match your biological rythms. Even when we are sleeping, we have “an extension of ourselves” that is perpetual, as stated by media theorist Marshal McLuhan. When you are counting sheep in your dreams, people are still commenting on your Facebook profile, re-tweeting your tweets, checking you out on LinkedIn (etc!) and expecting something of you…
I won’t go into the public-privacy debate surrounding the data online, nor will I go into the question of data ownership. I just want to focus on how we are actively creating memories online every millisecond of our digital lives right now. We do this consciously, often strategically and even times unconsciously. I know with certainty that I can trace one day when i’m 90 years old, my footsteps back. My grandchildren will search for my information too and reconstruct who I was according to my digital self. Henri Bergson once reflected on similar issues, he was fascinated by the radical changes in terms of how memories will be retrieved thanks to the invention of photography. By just looking at a photograph of that vacation in Paris, you revive it again. We become easily Prousts of the 21st century ‘In search of the lost time’, this time without smelling the sweet lemony Madelines.
Take a look at 3 applications that can help you start scrap-booking that digital memory lane right now. I came across these, thanks to some FB and Twitter friends (Thanks Zizi, Venessa and Benjamin). These applications use the data you have stored in social media platforms, such as Facebook, to accumulate your memories (data=memories) and present it to you in an unique form. As a tangible book (Social Memories), in form of a Museum (The Museum of Me) or as a timeline of your activities on diverse social media platforms (Memolane).
1. Social Memories (on FB, anew market being explored by the German post-office company)
This application scrapes your stored FB data and puts it all in a book. You get to see a free digital version of the book and you can share it on FB. But real added-value is that you can actually purchase the copy of your tangible ‘social you’ book:
Check the YouTube video:
2. The Museum of Me (by Intel in collaboration with FB)
Intel provides you with your own Virtual Museum. Exposition: your social self online. It’s like wandering in the museum of someone’s life, only this time all lights on You. A painful uncomfortable self-conscious experience if you are shy and don’t like to be in spotlight. The metaphor is so alive! I don’t know how long this one will stick online!
And my all time favorite:
Memolane makes a timeline of your everyday participation/activities on your favorite (popular) social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LastFM, Foursquare, YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr and others. Memolane creates timelines like the ones in history books. Your status updates, photos and tweets among others are the objects recorded in time, not the deeds of heroes in history:
So what are you waiting for, start making memories and compiling your time capsules !