How Do We Save Our Digital Lives (Presented at SXSW 2014)

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Instagram pictures of your island vacation, Facebook well wishes on the birth of your first child, an email from your father, Vine videos from your sons graduation. There are no more diaries, letters or scrapbooks. Our personal history is digital. When we use social platforms to house the stories of our lives, we are putting a great deal of trust into the webmasters. We are taking for granted that our data will be preserved, that they wont pull the plug on the site. Which is what happened to Broadcastr, a mobile app that encouraged folks to share and geo-tag stories about places important to them. This is where I had my first kiss, This is where I was on 9/11, This is where my brother died... People could listen to an invisible narrative as they explored a city. Then Broadcastr announced the app was shutting down. A layer of personal stories important enough to share, vanished. The story of this app embodies the threat to our personal archives in our digital world.

Transcript

  • HOW DO WE SAVE OUR DIGITAL LIVES? BY MARY SNAUFFER @MARYSNAUFFER
  • LISTEN.
  • THIS IS WHERE I HAD MY FIRST KISS.
  • THIS IS WHERE MY FATHER DIED.
  • THIS IS WHERE MY FATHER FIRST SAW MY MOTHER.
  • THIS IS WHERE I STOOD WHEN I FOUGHT.
  • THIS IS WHERE I WAS WHEN I WAS A PART OF HISTORY.
  • THIS IS WHERE MY GRANDPA LIVED WHEN HE WAS A BOY.
  • Facebook designers want users to remember and experience good interactions with friendsso much so that serotonin, our happiness hormone, has become a design guideline. -SmartPlanet, 2012
  • THE BROADCASTR APP IS SHUTTING DOWN
  • WE UNDERSTAND HUMANITY FROM PERSONAL ARCHIVES
  • WE BECOME WHAT WE BEHOLD. WE SHAPE OUR TOOLS, & THEREAFTER OUR TOOLS SHAPE US. MARSHALL MCLUHAN, 1964
  • I AM THIS PORTRAIT PICTURE.
  • I AM THIS PORTRAIT PICTURE.
  • IN ALL LIKELIHOOD YOU WOULD NEVER SEE YOUR FAMILY AGAIN. YOU GAVE THEM YOUR PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPH.
  • THE ONLY CAMERA THAT ANYBODY CAN USE
  • THE CHRISTMAS PHOTOS
  • SUMMER VACATION PHOTO THE SUMMER VACATION PHOTOS
  • GRADUATION/BDAY PHOTO THE LIFE EVENTS PHOTOS
  • WE ARE ANCHORED BY OUR ANCESTORS.
  • SHE HOLDS A PICTURE OF HER MOTHER SHE FOUND IN THE RUBBLE OF HER TORNADO- DESTROYED HOME. OKLAHOMA, 2013
  • I WAS JUST SO TOUCHED THAT SOMEBODY FOUND IT. IT WAS KIND OF LIKE GETTING A LITTLE PIECE OF OUR FAMILY BACK.
  • A page from my teenage archives.
  • Me, in 8th grade.
  • TURKEY SANDWICH, THE SNOW, fancy dinner shots, ETC. ETC. Include turkey photo from my original presentation Point it too illustrate sheer mass
  • If you dont save it you wont exist.
  • THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS HAS 838 MILES OF BOOKSHELVES TODAY, WE CREATE AN EQUIVALENT AMOUNT OF CONTENT DIGITALLY EVERY 10 MINUTES
  • RIGHT NOW, WE HAVE OVER 500 MILLION* RECORDED PERSONAL HISTORIES *OVER 500 MILLION PEOPLE USE FACEBOOK
  • Hi Barack, you made us proud! America, you have renewed my trust in humanity! I am South African and I marvel at the fact that my child will grow up in a world where the greatest nation has been led by a black person and see that as normal! Thank you America, and thank you Obama for living your dream and not suppressing it! Posted at 4:06pm, December 12, 2008 I Am Voting For Change, Facebook Group
  • SALMAN RUSHDIE
  • IMAGINE HAVING A RECORD YOU REALLY WANT TO LISTEN TO
  • THE MEDIA ARCHAEOLOGY LAB
  • INSIDE HERE ARE THE PIECES OF YOUR PERSONAL HISTORY
  • the impulse to preserve something to be remembered while leaving out something to be forgottenis found in individual and collective minds, historically and fictionally. Jacques Derrida, 1964 The Concept of the Archive
  • 1. EVERY MONTH GO THROUGH YOUR PHOTOS & DOCUMENTS 1. PICK JUST A FEW 1. PRINT THEM ON HIGH QUALITY PAPER, NOT CHEAPLY 1. CAPTION YOUR PHOTOS WITH A SOFT PENCIL