I wrote this post almost 2 years ago, and I haven’t acted on what I said. Since then, my grandmother has passed away but the memories live on, as does she in our hearts. The thoughts are coming back to my mind so I figured what better time than now to publish it. Let’s see if I can keep up with the goals I set for myself.
My mom recently received a book made by her grandmother, “Mama Honey.” This book, or Guest Log as it was titled, was a scrapbook of all of the time they had spent together in her childhood. There were newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, ticket stubs, you name it. Looking through it showed me history of my family’s life and the time period they grew up in. While the book isn’t in perfect condition, the artifacts inside it are priceless. I am at my grandparents’ house right now where we have been looking through old photographs of them growing up in Hawaii, Germany, and North Carolina. We have pictures that are several generations old still floating around in our family. I spoke with my other grandmother the other day and she was telling me how she found a box of artwork, cards, and projects that we had made over the years for her. She said it was the funniest thing in the world and there was no WAY she could throw any of it out! It makes me sad to think that I have gone through boxes of my old stuff and thrown so much of it away. But how can we keep all of it? There are so many memories and only so many physical pieces of those memories that we can hold on to.
Looking through these old scrapbooks made me think, what are my grandchildren going to be looking through? My generation takes exponentially more photos of every event and posts them online. Newspapers are online and I find almost anything having to do with current events on the Internet. We are archiving our past without even realizing it! There will be so much more for generations to come to examine and evaluate to see what OUR lives were like, “back in the day.” How will they even view our archives? What will their computers be like? It would have been very challenging to convince someone in my grandparents’ generation that in the year 2000 everyone would be communicating via cell phones and sharing information in this crazy thing they call “cyberspace.” Will they even be able to easily find this information, or at least the photos and clippings we want them to find? Sure, there may be over 500 pictures of me on Facebook, but that’s only over a few years. Imagine how much data will be on the web in 10 years that we don’t even care about. How will all of the data be categorized in 50 years from now? I can’t even imagine how specific search engines will be at that point. New ways of categorizing photos and information are being created all the time, which one will stick and how much will it grow? My real question is, HOW CAN I CREATE MY LEGACY FOR GENERATIONS TO COME TO VIEW?
While blogging may seem shallow and self-absorbed to some people, I see it has creating history. What if we had these records for the Romans or the Mayans? Imagine the insight our blogs and photos will have for historians in the future. They will be able to see what life was like for all different types of people. Currently we can look through archives of the news and published media to evaluate the past. Right now, people all over the world are document the present for everyone to view. And now after reading myself type “all over the world” I can’t help myself but think about how third world countries will be remembered. Is their documentation going to be based on how WE (meaning the US and other wealthy nations) view them? I am not talking from experience and I have no background knowledge on this topic, but it is making me think. I wonder what types of blogs or journals would be (or already are) coming from less developed nations.
Now I come back to another question that I find myself needing to answer: Why do we blog? I can’t decide if I am writing about it because blogs are supposed to be about new technologies, or because blogs should be something others on the Internet might want to read. But as I’m writing right now, who is this for? Is anyone actually going to read this? Then I come back to the real question… Does it matter? In the past couple of hours I have written 5 pages about my photography experiences and about blogging in general. Am I really expecting anyone to read this? No, not really, although it would be nice. But I have been enjoying writing, and that is the real point. I guess someone could also say then what is the point of putting it online? Hmm, now I’m actually asking myself that. My family friend, Brenda (more than a family friend, practically my second mother), wrote a children’s book to prepare children for a new sibling on the way. The book as done well, but I remember when it first went to press and she was trying to figure out how to make it a success. My dad told her that her book was a success when one person was helped or affected by the book. As soon as you have made a difference in ONE person’s life, you have accomplished something. That is how I feel about blogging I guess. If ONE person reads my blog and gets something out of it, I will be satisfied. So have you gotten anything out of my blog? If so, I’m a winner! And so are you!
Ok, now to my true mission. I have been meaning to give myself a project for some time, and now that I have about a million other projects going on at the same time, why don’t we add one more to the list?
So here it is: I AM CREATING A COMPLETE ONLINE ARCHIVE OF MY LIFE. Well, as complete as I can get.
There. That wasn’t too bad. This isn’t completely self-absorbed of me, is it? I swear that’s not why I’m doing it. I want to have something that my family and friends can look back on. My roommate writes everything she does each day on a calendar. I constantly make fun of her for this. But then I look back at it and say, “I remember that! That was so much fun!” I have started to use Twitter more seriously now, and I’m going to try to keep up with it. I like the fact that I will be able choose any day a year from now and see what I did on that day, at a specific time. And with hardly any work from me! I don’t need an iPhone or to be connected to the Internet constantly. All I need to do is send a text message and I’ll have a 140 character or less reminder of what I was doing around that time. It doesn’t get much better than that. After blogging all summer when I was in Iowa (that blog will be imported) I realized it will be fun to look back at everything I did. Before I applied to the REU at Iowa State I looked through students’ blogs to get an idea of what their summer was like. I WISH they did a blog as thorough as mine! And hopefully someone will read my blog from last summer and it will make him or her want to apply. Maybe I already have made a difference in someone’s life!
And the other reason for archiving my life: I want to scan and save as many old photographs of my grandparent’s as possible. I jumped into the digital world and left film high and dry. If I don’t scan these photos, or even photos of my childhood before digital came around, who knows what will happen to them! I want to start the archive from the beginning, and the beginning began WAY before I was born. Several generations before I was born. If I can gather all of these photos, old and new, I will have the best archive of my family possible, and it will be easily transferred to anyone who would like to see it now or 100 years from now. But then I run into this other problem: what happens if the world ends or the World Wide Web crashes? Either would be a catastrophe.
And on that note, goodnight.
(More to come soon, but probably not as long, and maybe a little more web friendly. I mean I did take a class on writing for the web, I should know not to ramble so much, like I’m doing now…But wait, it doesn’t matter, it’s only for me! But come on, I should use good practices. Got to stay sharp some how!)