Traveling the Multiverse

Aka Ironyca Stood in the Fire – gaming blog

“What is a Memory in this Digital Age?”

“Why am I beginning to view a memory not photographed or tweeted—one residing solely in my mind—as unattractive? I’m a visual person, so I take mental snapshots of the places I go, keeping these images in my head. But this sort of intangible, mutable evidence seems increasingly inadequate in our world of over-sharing, and on an Internet where our traces are permanent.

It’s as if undocumented memories are now less potent.”

Quoted from “Notes on Memory” by Cheri Lucas at The Equals Record

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4 comments on ““What is a Memory in this Digital Age?”

  1. Vaneeesa Blaylock
    July 30, 2012

    I think “memory” and “oversharing” are really separate ideas.

    Facebook is the world’s greatest baby photo sharing website. My mom truly loves it when her little nieces overshare pix there, those images mean a lot to her. But yes, I have to agree that FB seems to embrace a sort of superficiality.

    Hahaha – you run around slaying beasts in a “virtual” world and I run around buying “virtual” clothes… and I’m calling FB “superficial” and “fake” — gotta love that!

    Seriously though, there are a billion topics under “heaven” and I think places like Elford Stood in the Fire or iRez or many others are pretty good places to have “real” conversations about those topics.

    People can go on and on about the exact terms of a fake peace… or a business swindle, right? So perhaps “real” actually just means “detailed.”

    Anyway, I don’t exactly mean to dis FB, it’s a nice platform that connects nearly a billion people and stores their words, pix & vids for no charge. That’s pretty sweet. Still, for me Facebook is kind of the Walmartification of culture and creativity. It’s both oversharing and undersharing all at the same time.

    So I guess I’d like less lite sharing and more “real” sharing. Although I do enjoy putting out the idiotic tweet myself, so, who knows.

    Anyway, that’s the “oversharing” part.

    The MEMORY part is another story. Our brains are pretty impressive. But the world, and the universe, and the universe of experience, are even bigger. So we write books. We take pix. All that stuff is offline memory. Human beings have always been defined by creating tools to enhance knowledge and memory. When the Voyager spacecraft first encountered Jupiter, Bruce Murray, then director of the Jet Propulsion Lab said something like “today human ganglion cells are a billion kilometers long”

    So I’m fine with dissing “oversharing.” But I totally embrace “offline memory.” I’ve seen childhood pix of myself or of other people that I’d totally forgotten about, but some photo my dad snapped ages ago gives me back some old piece of life or experience or relationship, I think that’s a good thing.

    • Ironyca
      July 31, 2012

      I read it as the author pointing at some kind of permanence of the shared memory, and of course weaved in with that point, the maintenance of the public identity.

      I’m fairly quiet on FB, I think of the sharing stream as a river. The second you step in, it’s going to flow so fast and everything you do will prompt the question “should I share this?”. Many things happen during my day where I think “this could be a fun thing to share”, but I don’t, because I can see myself getting stuck there, sharing everything that can pass the exam of my carefully censoring eye. It’s almost a lifestyle.

      I struggled a little between two quotes, and this was the other one, which I find just as interesting and very honest:

      “I wanted to take photographs mainly to prove I was there. I hinted at this urge in a blog post on the new way I take photographs; now, consuming and owning the present moment has become more important than capturing an experience cohesively, or creating something to add to an archive.”

      – Consuming and owning the moment is a lot of work, I imagine.

  2. Syl
    July 30, 2012

    Hmmm…an interesting thought. I’m not sure I agree though; memories and shareable snapshots are not truly the same. the memory is always going to be more than a picture in one’s heart or mind – it’s probably more comparable to a meta-film(?) with all the emotions (sounds, smells) added in that you have about this moment in time, the people who were there with you etc.
    a picture is merely a very incomplete representation of an entire memory – for me, anyway. :) I love my MMO screenshots because they are triggers for my personal memories, or conserved stimuli – but if the memories didn’t exist in my mind none of the pictures would mean anything at all. so from that PoV it stands to reason if you can ever truly share ‘memories’ over virtual spaces with complete strangers.

    I also still like that not all is shareable and viewable by others in this world. some memories I treasure for myself alone. :)

    • Ironyca
      July 31, 2012

      I see your point about how the memory lies “beneath” the snapshot, and how the snapshot depicts only some kind of surface of the memory. I still wonder if the experience of the personal memory is somehow affected by the public stream of constant sharing, where some people’s lives are so public because every private moment is shared on FB and Twitter etc.

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This entry was posted on July 30, 2012 by in Opinion and Discussion and tagged , , , , , , , .

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