Memories In The Internet Age

13122008791A little just over a decade ago, we were still flipping photos through a physical album. How things have changed so much in the last 10 odd years. First of all, there were digital cameras. Then there was Web 2.0 and online photo galleries. Add to it digital videos. Before you know it, all your memories are captured electronically. For some people, their memories are uploaded to the “Cloud”. Some of whom, their memories are only in the “Cloud”. Do you worry that these electronic memories could suddenly vanish?

I’m rather skeptical about uploading my photos. Sure, I would upload them to share with others. But depending on the Internet or the “Cloud” to preserve my memories… no way. It seems so scary that so much of our memories are nowadays preserved virtually. Some say they are timeless, because bits are not supposed to deteriorate over time like photo paper or magnetic tapes. But I say they are virtual.

Sometimes, I feel like a physical album that you can hold has its purpose. But at the rate we generate digital content these days, this is not going to work. In fact, because photos are so easy to take, I find myself snapping so many pictures, so many that I can’t find them.

I have several thousand photos just on my MacBook right now, which is not even one year old. I have so many more digital collections which are, sad to say, largely disorganized across different computers, different disks, and non-systematically backed up on CDROMs. (Oh touch wood.) I’m a bit paranoid, I worry that I can’t find my photos that are, well, “somewhere”. Somewhere that I just can’t find.

We really need a way to enhance our media finding capabilities. The Mac’s Spotlight is simply indispensable. I never bother to use the Search feature in Windows. But the Mac’s Spotlight is simply amazing. But alas it only finds text. Not media. Automatic geo-tagging is useful. Apple’s automatic face matching is useful too. But I think we need more.