Childhood Memories, Photos and the Documentarian Generation

I’ve been thinking a lot about childhood lately. Perhaps it’s the change of the season, the emergence of sand pails and swing sets, the sirens and squeals of ice-cream trucks. Or perhaps it’s that I just moved out of  NY’s the East Village, where seeing a child on a Saturday night incited shock and horror.

In any case, I’ve been mulling through the memories of summer camps and best friends and pool parties. For the most part, the memories that surface to the forefront are not the obscure, nuanced screen shots. They are the ones which I’ve seen before, the ones which I’ve recounted before (often too many times to the same person). And perhaps most saliently, they are the memories for which I have photos, the ones that are seemingly so real they must have existed just so.

But what of the kids of today? The ones whose parents act as documentarians and are capturing every moment through iPhone photos, videos, instagrams, vines, tweets, Facebook posts, insert your memory capture platform here. I’m curious – when they grow up, what will they remember? In part, these kids might have the luxury of instant recall. With technologies that can store all your life’s memories – think DropBox, Flickr, Everpix — and coupled with data about where you were, who you were with, and even what you thought about those experiences, we might just be creating a goldmine of historical personal data for future excavation.

There are risks as well, from the increasingly difficult task of identity formation to the surrender of memory recall and formation to external systems. That said, I would personally love to remember more from the past, and more so, understand more of my parents’ and grandparents’ lives. So as with my stance on most tech, bring it on.

 

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