A future without personal history

by Richard on January 19, 2011

My parents still have letters that they received more than 30 years ago, and when they read them now they say that they detail entire relationships and friendships. They have vast amounts of information about their own history stored inside the letters that they sent and received. It goes even further than that. My grandmother still has letters she received from her grandmother. If it weren’t for those letters, all that information about my own family history would have been lost, or confined to memory (which, as my parents are discovering, fails us all eventually).

And yet, I can’t tell anyone what I was discussing with someone a month ago. That’s testament to the digital age that I, and everyone in my generation, is a native member of. I find myself feeling incredibly guilty that my parents and grandparents went to so much effort to ensure that our family history was kept, and here I am frequently losing information about my life.

Food for thought from ReadWriteWeb

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }


Simon 01.20.11 at 11:04 am

Hmm, I’m not sure about all of that.

Your email storage fills up, so you delete all your messages - well, perhaps I’m just a little bit behind the times, but I still download all my email to my home machine. I’ve got a few gigabytes since my last disk change in about 2006 (when I archived it to DVD), but that’s nothing nowadays. 500Gb disks cost about £30.

It’s true that if you participate in posting on sites like this, you’re at the mercy of the site operator and their service provider.

But if you’re talking about your own family history and your most personal communication, I’d do that via email and keep it all. As it goes, it’s all indexed as well, and so searchable in a few seconds.


Pam 01.20.11 at 9:41 pm

Fair dinkum cobber. :)

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