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Wednesday 30 June 2010

A Digital Memory Bank

I recently watched a video by one of my favourite video makers. The basic idea behind the video was that, if something isn't documented, then it never really happened. I guess the argument being, that you have no real proof, if the documentation doesn't exist?
Now, i don't want to go into any big philosophical arguments about this topic & whether this idea is correct, or not. But, it certainly got me thinking. As Margarets videos usually do.
My initital thoughts, which i included in a comment on the video, were that sometimes we do need that documentation & for various reasons.
Our memories can often be selective & that's just the memories that we can recall. We often put things out of our mind, because we want to forget them. How many times have you been reminded of something you'd rather forget, or had put out of your mind? Quite a few i'd guess. We have all cringed at the sight of an old photograph, video clip, or even the verbal memory of a friend, or relative.
But, this can of course work in a positive way as well. Documentation, in whatever form, can help us to remember things that we'd like to remember, but had forgotten. Basically the opposite of what i mentioned above. That cringe could well be a smile, under different circumstances.
Documentation can also be used to correct a persons memory of an event.
Our memories can often play tricks on us, for many reasons. Causing us to remember things differently to how they actually happened. There is also a criminal, or deceitful angle to this as well, of course.

But, my main thought was about whether this worry about documentation will shortly become a thing of the past.
I have been, intentionally or not, documenting aspects of my life for the past 3+ years. Whether that be on YouTube, via blog posts, or just generally on the many Internet & social networking sites that i use.
I have made several YouTube videos about just this topic. We are creating a Digital Memory Bank. Everything that we do online, is stored somewhere. That is something that many people fail to realise. Until, that is, their boss finds that inappropriate photo of them on Facebook & decides that that isn't the sort of behaviour we expect & then sacks the unsuspecting person.
That is the negative side to this online documentation. But, there are many positive sides to this as well. Especially, if you control what you put "out there", as i try to do with my videos & blogs.
I am also leaving behind a record of my recent past for anyone to see, myself included.
I am very pleased that i started making my YouTube video over 3 years ago. It's great to be able to look back on them, just as it is an old photograph. For as many times as i might think, "did i really look like that, actually say that, or think that way", there are many more times when i'm just so pleased that i took the time & trouble to record it all in the first place.
Samual Pepys had his diary. I have my computer, video camera & an Internet connection. My own personal diary might not include the Great Fire Of London, as Pepys' did. But, it's still history.
We are all making history & now we all have a way to record it for the future. I, for one, intend to make full use of that opportunity.
All of this will help to prove that i did indeed exist & i now have the documentation to prove it.


  1. I don't think it was so much a question of whether or not something happened if it wasn't documented, but whether or not it "counts." I'm pleased for documentation of all sorts. We think we're going to remember that vacation forever, but after a couple of years you find yourself arguing with the spouse about whether that great restaurant was on that island or in the desert. If you can go to the photos or videos or blog you never have to argue again :^)

  2. You could well be right about the "it counts" aspect. But, why let the truth get in the way of a good blog topic though? ;)
    No more arguing, expect for when the wife says "you're not going to vlog, or blog about this are you?"