Back in mid-February, Google’s vice-president was warning us just how precarious all of these digital “memories” we create are.
Not only has the advent of the high quality phone camera seemingly destroyed photography and filled the world with billions of hours of unwatchable “footage,” it has lulled us into a false security regarding our permanence.
We all benefit from memory aids, and in recent history slide projectors, photo albums, and more recently video tapes were a wonderful memorial. Even back then, though, everyone knew that the only people interested in such things were the people featured. Nothing is less interesting than a slide show or a video clip of someone else’s kids or vacations… unless a pratfall is involved.
For some reason the advent of what is basically a pocket-sized TV studio rendered that awareness mute. We feel a desperate need to document our daily tedium. Vacations and special occasions are almost understandable, but is it worth sacrificing our lives to record everything. Because what we now have is not people enjoying trips to exotic places. They are too busy recording things. People don’t witness weddings or birthdays anymore. They have to film them. Never mind that every other attendee is capturing the same footage and a professional (read friend with a digital camera) is officially doing so.
And now we hear it is truly all for not. Because all of these photos and videos that we shoot and never look at more than once are doomed to truly be vapors in cyberspace; dissolving away as the programs that display them become obsolete and the storage clouds they are coded into degrade.
This is not a call to stop creating memory markers. But keep things in perspective. Make memories to go alongside the pictures. Truth is, they will last longer.