SWMBO, the BRD, Beau Jack and I shared a meal and conversation the other day. I had forgotten until I read Tom's post today about one of the conversational topics that came up.
It began with SWMBO relating how her novel-in-progress is based on a series of letters written by a far-off uncle of hers before and around the beginning of the 20th Century, i.e. the 1890's and up. It is quite amazing that she was able to acquire the letters, that they had been kept in her family for over 100 years and that she was able to make transcripts from them.
This led to an admittance by Beau Jack that he had thrown away many letters and papers of his father's when he passed away. SWMBO was appalled at the loss of this history and BJ acknowledged that he had kept his father's diary. He also noted that he had kept a diary himself for a couple of years in his youth and he still had it in a filing cabinet.
But this conversation then led, on SWMBO's part, to the Internet and all of the blogs and photos that exist only on the Internet. In the cloud world, I suppose. She contended that some day all of these things will disappear - poof - as the Internet collapses or turns into something else. And all of those digitally rendered images and words and thoughts will be lost for all time. Unless they have been printed out and kept on paper.
I have read speculations about the death of the Internet or the World Wide Web as some new technology comes along. Let's face it - these communications technologies, as we know them, are less than 30 years old. And the amazing growth in technology and development is hard to grasp. I can remember my first computer, a Commodore, I believe. I thought I was in hog heaven when I had figured out how to hook it to my ham radio. How long ago that now seems.
I recently began streaming data onto a television set and was somewhat surprised to find a Picasa program that had hundreds of pictures I had used over the years. Many of them were worthless, used only to illustrate a long-forgotten point. But there were others, too, of friends and family. Photos that, for reasons of posterity (?) I would not want to lose.
But SWMBO and the others made me think - will that magical POOF happen while I am still alive or later? Will my blog and photos live on after me until the great dissolve? Will my handprints on the cave of existence be there years and decades and centuries later? Or not?
And finally and somewhat wistfully this thought - will any one really care?