Microhistory on the Web


Last night's entry got me thinking about how the web has changed the way we record our personal history. Just think about it. Every day some person or some company creates something that controls data. As the web evolves there seems to be no limit to what you can do with all the content that is online. For example, you can apply, innovate, search, save, share, transform, network, archive, track, aggregate, browse, mash up, socialize and - my most favorite- customize information on just about anything in the known universe most especially about yourself. It is exactly because of this power that future generations would have a better understanding of how we lived- as individuals and as a society.

I remember having to go through photo albums, scrapbooks, journals and cardboard filled boxes just to get a glimpse of my family history. How was my grandfather like when he was young? What music did grandma listen to or what books did mom read? I also remember repeating the process except this time I was adding into them. Now I just flip open my macbook and everything is there. My photos, documents, music, movies, games, books, etc either in my hard drive or stashed somewhere in cyberspace. I just have to click something and there goes everything about me on the glossy screen.

I guess somebody out there is already thinking about making an application or tool that would allow everybody else to create their own interactive history. I imagine my grandkids logging online to see what my facebook status was during my 30th birthday and then looking at the pictures I had posted or my friends had posted on my flickr account (Geez, I hope they disable comments). I'm sure they would love to see my various tweets, rss feed subscriptions, blogs, online reviews and recommendations. Then, like any typical kid, they would eventually loose interest and jump on to the next subject: their President elect's playlist during the first day he or she fell in love at 18.

I'm calling that microhistory on the web. The possibilities are quite exciting to imagine. Doesn't it make you wonder? What do YOU imagine?

*Note: For the unaware, an online library was formed in the late 90's that houses an internet archive called Wayback Machine not to be confused with The Rocky and Bullwinkle show one. Check it out.

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