Personal History

If one 16-year-old boy’s story is any indication, questions of digital archiving are plaguing more aspects of our life than just the archives of digital literature. The young author fears that indeed much of his personal history has been carried out through a digital medium and will consequently be lost.

What happens if, in three years, I want to go back through all my communications with my girlfriend? I may not be using an iPhone in three years, so all of my messages on Whatsapp Messenger will be gone. I definitely won't be using the same mobile phone, so all of my SMS's will be gone. My Gmail storage will have filled up, so I won't have any of our emails any more. I doubt I'll even still be using Facebook - there's all of that communication gone.

This kind of thinking is provocative, but realistically the personal historical records we used to have in the good old days were letters. We didn’t record phone conversations or face-to-face talks. Much of this anxiety seems to stem from the fact that so much of our communication now can be archived in ways that were never before possible.

Leave history to the historians. Save as much as you care to, but don’t stress about losing those conversations, kid. You’ll still have the memories, and your writing will endure whether it’s on paper or not.