Okay, I finally joined the Facebook legion. Or maybe it should be called, like a flock of flamingoes, a “Flamboyance.” And it got me thinking about how we leave digital traces of ourselves, that seem – if there is any kind of catastrophic event that wipes out electricity – quite ephemeral (even though people say your Facebook page lingers on indefinitely after you yourself are dead). I’ve heard that kids buy new cell phones and don’t always download all their photos from their old phones. Poof, there goes that evidence and documentation of a life. And of course, technology will change. Imagine if all your photos and friends were housed on an old 8-track tape? There are no assurances that these platforms are stable or eternal! Wait until everything is stored in your computer-augmented brain tissue.
Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter…your whole life can disappear, not only the digital traces of it, but the sheer amount of time spent sitting…we’ll all be highly evolved blobs one day. Oozing our information in droplets as we move from one technologized event to another. (No, I am not a Luddite, just a nihilist and skeptic.)
Meanwhile, let’s all communicate via the ether and hope that in some future world, we have left a shred of evidence that we were here (echoes of Horton Hears a Who).
Perhaps I’m worrying needlessly. Online awareness of global warming, petitions to save endangered species…all this is good. Information is more democratically shared and all that…but the traces we leave, will they really remain in the same way that books and artifacts and printed photos do? Materiality – the object world – is it too becoming extinct?