Searchable Legacy

20 Sep

Earlier this year it was announced that the Library of Congress (the largest library in the world whose mission is to “sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations”) will archive every tweet ever tweeted on Twitter since 2006 when the service first started. This is HUGE….kind of. Well, more like really interesting. This is INTERESTING. That’s better.

What is so interesting about this, at least to me, is to think about the implications this seemingly simple decision will have on our world. Think about it. Every tweet you have ever posted (assuming your profile is set to “public”, which most are) and will post in the future will be saved and archived in the Library of Congress….forever! That means my kids, grandkids, my great-grandkids, etc., etc., will be able to search and read every tweet I have ever posted for as long as I have Twitter. I can imagine my great-grandkids doing their family history project in Elementary school and the teacher encouraging her students to research the Twitter archives for their family history. That is part awesome and part scary. My future great-grandkids are going to think I’m super lame always tweeting about Apple products, blog posts, and other nerdy things from the early 2000’s. And who knows what kind of stuff I’ll be tweeting about in my 60’s or 70’s!? Think about it, old people love using the same products and brands they used in “their day.” I think we could still be tweeting and using Facebook and blogging the same when we’re all old hanging out in retirement centers with super fast Google wireless internet from space.

Maybe my Facebook profile will still be around by the time my great grandkids are alive and instead of a ‘fan’ page, you can create a ‘family tree’ page and connect all of your family members together, living and deceased. By that time I would imagine Facebook would be close to world domination so I don’t see why that couldn’t be possible. My future family members could look at my profile and see the progression of my life as it happened through pictures and wall posts.

You thought it was bad when your parents got on Facebook, imagine what it will be like when your KIDS get on Facebook!

Perhaps Facebook should start implementing family privacy preferences so our kids can’t look at your pictures past a certain year. You wouldn’t want them to leverage specific pictures from your college days in an argument.

Thanks to the Library of Congress I will literally have a searchable legacy. Every story I tell about my early life to my grandkids will be fact checked to make sure grandpa isn’t telling fibs again! This also puts things into perspective for me and makes me put a whole lot more thought into how I answer the question “what’s happening?” on Twitter. It’s interesting to think about this uncharted frontier we call Social Media and where its place will be in history. I’m sure we have only scratched the surface with what’s possible. When my great-grandkids read this one day maybe they’ll write about this blog post in their family history project…or maybe they’ll be too busy reading past updates from Ashton Kutcher.


6 Responses to “Searchable Legacy”

  1. The Momma September 20, 2010 at 2:24 PM #

    Once again, insightful! I was going to ask the question, but you already thought it out for yourself….Knowing that future generations will be reading your Tweets, does that make you think twice about what you post?? Does it make you want to be more profound? More funny? Less caustic? Less foul? (Not that YOU are foul!) What Tweeter legacy will you leave??

    • colbynelson September 20, 2010 at 2:37 PM #

      EXACTLY! For me, makes me think about how my future family will perceive me. I can feel the urge to post about more things that “matter” or the great things I am doing as opposed to the more “mundane” things I usually post about. However, I also don’t want to be always posting every (good) thing I am doing just because my future family *might* read what I post. So really, I hope my future family doesn’t only have their impression of me from Twitter. I would like to think I would leave a better legacy in ‘real life’ than my ‘legacy’ on Twitter (or any social media/technology for that matter).

    • Darold April 13, 2011 at 2:49 PM #

      That’s way more clever than I was excpentig. Thanks!

  2. Gregg September 21, 2010 at 10:40 PM #

    Terrific post Colby! Very insightful and thought provoking.

  3. Matee April 13, 2011 at 12:37 PM #

    That’s really thinking out of the box. Taknhs!


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