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On our relationships with technology

2015-01-16 23:06:01.840074+00 by Dan Lyke 2 comments

I've been hanging out with the Indie Web Camp folks, and as such have been exposed to other people who feel as I do about social media, about owning our own content, managing our own backups, maintaining our own web presences, things like that.

The arguments are nothing new, we've all seen photo hosting and blogging sites go away and take their archives with them, we've all seen repurposed content, changes in terms of service, communities painstakingly built up over years disappear with a student graduating a college and losing mailing list privileges.

Or so I thought.

A few weeks ago, I was involved in an email exchange with someone who's technically savvy, and he questioned my use of trimming and interspersed posting, rather than top posting. I was kind of taken aback because I figured he was steeped enough in tech to be a 'net native, but I suddenly realized...

Facebook has, at this point, been around for almost 11 years, and is really the first place that most modern net users have actually built some sort of web presence. We talk fondly of ~username on our home ISPs back in the day, and then GeoCities and Tripod, and of watching Orkut and MySpace and Tribe and whatnot crash and burn, but this is a sort of history that most people haven't dealt with.

Similarly, we have 3 decades of files that we've moved from machine to machine, and had to organize and curate and have directories of stuff that we've just copied and hope are still okay. Images that we had scanned to PhotoCD back in the days of film. Raw files from digital SLRs. JPEGs from early point-n-shoots.

Most people have the slides their dad took back in the day of SLR film cameras, and selfies from the camera in their smart phone acquired in the boom of the last half a decade.

There is an experience here that I think mirrors the same way that we who'd been on BBSs back in the '80s saw the coming of the net: In the same way that we saw the early 'net from adapting to the lifestyle, of email and online forums spread into (and be taken over by) the mainstream culture, the problems of personal data and online presences are about to become a deal to the culture at large.

I don't know how we profit from it, yet, but I think there will be huge opportunities in the next few years, because I think most people need it, but don't yet know that the do.

[ related topics: Photography Sexual Culture Invention and Design Sociology Journalism and Media California Culture Community Education Archival Woodworking ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: On our relationships with technology made: 2015-01-17 00:08:02.621103+00 by: ebradway

A quick test of older communities...

Here's my postings to a Porsche-Related discussion forum during the 9/11/2001 attacks

I couldn't get to a posting I made to The WELL back around 1992. The WELL is still a gated community. Then it was one of the cheaper ways to get a SLIP connection to the 'net. And I could dial a 9600 baud modem in Nashville (whereas Chattanooga only had 1200 baud at the time).

#Comment Re: On our relationships with technology made: 2015-01-17 08:13:40.558703+00 by: meuon

You hit a nerve. Been looking at a few thousand slides from my dad's collection, wondering: Should I scan them? Where would I store them in a way that would last as long as those slides. Would I look at them ever again? Why didn't I scan them, when he was around to tell stories about them?

Then I apply those same thoughts to my life, and think I should live more, and archive my life less.