Digital dominance prevails; electronic communication – email, texts, social media posts – comprises the majority of our exchange these days with friends, family, coworkers, etc. We tap keys more, talk and/or handwrite less. Do you remember the last time you received a hand written letter or note? Card exchanges have dwindled, often restricted to holidays, loss of a loved one or an occasional birthday. Has it been the same for you?
This got me thinking about memory preservation and how, back in the day, keeping a collection of letters from a loved one, friend or pen pal was the norm. Fast forward to our present day exchanges – texts, tweets, posts and emails – a generic and quicker means to an end. Although they might contain meaningful dialogue and exchanges, they will never have that nostalgic appeal of their handwritten one on one predecessors. Think about it; have you ever printed an email for inclusion in a scrapbook or memory box? I’m guessing not. Unlike handwritten correspondence, electronic communication is devoid of any personalization and aesthetic beauty like penmanship, stationery design and impromptu freehand doodles. More importantly, a snail mail personalized message is intended for your eyes only and the intentions of the sender are so much clearer. Your message is not restricted to 140 characters and/or filled with texting acronyms.
And how about our digital photos?. Most reside indefinitely on our phones, hard drives and or our social media accounts because that is how we share. As I write this post I have 1035 photos on my phone.
As you can see, only 109 have been categorized in separate albums. I think that’s a little telling of the lack of importance of the other 926, don’t you think? Will the majority of these photos ever see the light of day? Probably not. I’m sure I’m not alone and the vast majority of the photos we take will forever reside in a digital void. It’s been over three years since I put together a traditional photo album. Instead, I now store my keepsake photos, like those that I categorized on my phone or would have printed back in the day, on a dedicated hard drive, organized in file folders for quick access should the need arise to view or print them.
Realizing, on the one hand, that digital technology allows us to restore and preserve history, I still wonder about the loss of those tangible remnants of our history that will never be created because we are so digitally driven.
What do you think? Is there an optimum digital versus old school balance for preserving memories? How do you store, collect and save your digital exchanges and memories?