OPINION: Preserving for posterity a challenge

If you are into Facebook, Twitter and other social media connections, you know how tempting it is to share your exploits with others...

If you are into Facebook, Twitter and other social media connections, you know how tempting it is to share your exploits with others.

Nothing like showing off to friends your current travel adventures via up-to-the-minute pictures, perhaps gloating a bit about the induced envy you are creating by doing something they aren’t, or can’t.

What people forget, however, in a desire to share everything almost as it happens is to reveal where you are, and the vulnerability of where you aren’t – like a vacant home with all your valuables sitting unwatched.

Perhaps you can trust your friends, but often your information goes far beyond what you expect. For example, your friends are at an event and are asked your whereabouts.

The problem is that others can, and do, overhear the conversation. Then over a beer in the local bar, your absence could be discussed once again – as in “did you know that guy who lives two doors down from me is off on another European vacation?”

Again the conversation can be overheard, this time perhaps by one who has nefarious intentions. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out where someone lives nor, with a keen ear, if they’re home or not.

So, if you are intent on sharing your adventures, do it after you return home. Might take a little blush off the rose of ego, so to speak, but at least you aren’t telling the world “My home is alone and waiting to be pillaged.”

The upside to vacation photos shared on social media is that when you visit friends you can easily decline an invitation to sit through endless slides of them standing in front of statues by simply saying “Thanks but we’ve already seen them on Facebook.” (Little white lies can save a whole bunch of boredom).

Then again, who takes slides these days, or for that matter, has real pictures that go into a family photo album?

Virtually every photo taken today is electronic, either on a phone or camera, the images downloaded to a computer to be displayed, and almost as quickly forgotten.

Gone will be the ability to share old photos with future generations because unless those pictures were archived on a disc that was not somehow lost, and the technology of the day can still “read” them, hard copies of memories past will be gone forever.

In my basement rest a number of old family albums that haven’t been opened for eons, and may never be … upon my demise tossed with all the other detritus hoarded over the years.

Within those pages are pictures of grandparents and great-grandparents and other relatives.

Hopefully they will be retained so future generations can figure out why they look a certain way, and from which side of the family came the prominent genes.

Perhaps too, one day one of my grandchildren will show a wrinkled and faded photo of a long-haired hippie-like guy to their children, explaining that was what their grandfather looked like when he was young.

Reality though, in this clutter-less society that we are developing, is that those photos, and most of the history of families will be relegated to the dump, the past only conjured through Google or Wikipedia or some such future information access source, and only if you’ve done something worthy of being recorded for posterity on the world-wide web.

That loss, for the sake of all your generations to come, would be a shame.

 

markrushton@abbynews.com

 

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