Are you content with your content trail?
That old question of what you’d save from your house if it were burning down is, these days, a whole different kettle of fish. While 10 or 15 years ago the most common answer (after the obvious ‘children’) would probably have been photo albums or a diary or old letters, it would now be… what? A hard drive? In a few years, even hard drives will be obsolete, as cloud computing will allow us to store everything of value in cyberspace anyway.
Rapidly fading are the days where it is possible to inherit a box full of memories from a grandmother or great aunt. What will we leave our children? The passwords to our email accounts? Our Facebook pages?
It’s interesting to speculate on what this virtualisation of our lives is doing to the notion of place, of grounded-ness. It seems that the less tangible the content of our lives, the more we seek to assert our identities online. What we leave behind will not be made of paper, but code.
All of which is very philosophical, but also brings us to the subject of personal content. A while ago we posted about the Museum of Me – an initiative by Intel to show the way our online lives can be curated to create an interactive picture of who are, and who we were.
While the campaign was little more than a promotional gimmick, the underlying concept was quite powerful. The average Gen Yer will be able to look back at their digital footprints in 50 years and get a more complete picture of what they were doing at any stage of their life than could ever be hoped for through diaries alone. In fact, most babies born today will live out their entire lives on social media.
A recent study by the New York Times found that one of the main motivators for sharing content online is to define ourselves to others. While much is made of the narcissism of social media, there is much more to it than wanting to come across in a certain way to our networks. We share and create content because it is the modern equivalent to scratching our names into the bark of a tree.
We want people to know we were there.
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