I didn’t make up the title pun of this blog. I was reading Jim Rutenberg’s NYT media column about Snapchat and the continuing churn ‘n’ change of the political cycle, and it came to me. But, the Internet being the content machine that it is, I figured I wasn’t the first to think of it — and sure enough, there was this, and this, and this.
I’m going to stick with it anyway.
There’s something about the word that seems appropriate to our age. Aspects of reality have always been ephemeral, living in our memories, but for most of recorded history they were also, well, recorded, on physical media to be revisited again and again. In the Internet Era, we still record experience — boy, do we ever record it — but we also forget it more quickly, whether because it’s just another bit of unnecessary minutiae or because we’re overwhelmed by the next shiny object.
And our means of recording it seem more fragile.
A few years ago, I wrote a piece on Kodak’s bankruptcy, and in it I quoted a commenter on the seeming impermanence of digital media. “The pictures last, even if the cameras didn’t: I have family photographs from the 19th century,” he wrote. “I (wonder) if, in 100 years, people will have the digital images from the late 20th? ‘Oh, yeah, they were on that computer that died and we never got the files off of it.’ ”
Some people assume the Cloud will take care of it. Others probably don’t care — it’s not like they’re planning to go through the thousands of photos on their phone. The moment is gone, anyway. It was nice while it lasted.
I’m not sure what this blog will be about, but the intersection of memory and reality — the hazy past and the concrete present — is a place I’ll keep coming back to.
And yes, I’m aware of the irony of posting these musings on the Internet.