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You and Eternity

October 17, 2012

Marshall McLuhan said “The printing press was at first mistaken for an engine of immortality by everybody except Shakespeare.”

Taking my cue from the master as I have done for all my posts, as our course and this blog are coming to end, I thought probing immortality and social media might be an interesting idea for my last post.  So here are three differnt approcahes.

Adam Ostrow, editor in chief at Mashable, explored the idea of immortality at a recent TED event. In his talk After Your Final Status Update, Ostrow observes that many of us have a social media presence — a virtual personality made up of status updates, tweets and connections, stored in the cloud. He then asks a very big question: What happens to that personality after you’ve died? Could it … live on?  He thinks so. Indeed as he sees it because thanks to the vastness of the data we’re creating on line and technology’s ability to make sense of it all, it’s going to become possible for our digital personas to interact with the real world long after we are gone.

Alternatively, Stuart Miles, ask us to consider the possibility that in the future, all our precious memories and favourite creations will become lost along with us when we die because of what he describes as Cloud Collecting.  As he imagines it in 2032 Cloud Collecting is a big business, where Cloud Collectors act as either on line bailiffs, and repossess virtual assets, or as dealers, and trade in the digital memorabilia of the rich and the famous.

And lastly, taking another approach altogether, the creators of the website The Diary of Samuel Pepys  in what must surely have been a labour of love, have used today’s media, to bring a man and his famous diaries digitally back to life. In 1660, at age 26, Samuel Pepys began his diary. He stopped a decade later. From 2003 until 2012 this site featured a daily entry from the diary accompanied by thoughts from readers. The complete diary, and the associated background information, is now an online archive of this period of London history.

What do you think? In 400 years from now will someone give our ideas  and thoughts and new life through the media of tomorrow?

What will become of the online identities we have all created in the last few weeks? Will they live on forever? Do you even want them to?

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 17, 2012 5:12 AM

    Great questions to end on and ones I have been pondering. I expect Stuart Miles is probably right in his predictions. I imagine that all this content will ‘die’ with us in some obscure corner of the interwebs.

    Regardless though, I have throuoghly enjoyed reading, commenting on and writing my blog so I will miss the interaction.

    • October 17, 2012 11:38 AM

      Yes I will miss it too Tamara. Even though at first it was a bit daunting I have relaxed into it and it has been a pleasure. What a great experience we have all had! Thanks for visiting. Roxanne

  2. October 17, 2012 6:59 AM

    Hi Roxanne. Wow, nothing like ending with the big questions. I’ve been considering the possibility that ephemera might live on longer than we’d intended, http://rethinkingmusings.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/dear-diary, but don’t think I’m quite prepared to put my random musings in the category of Shakespeare or even Pepys. Maybe that just means I’ll have to become famous so that they’re worth something to a collector one day. Better get busy then. But before I go, just wanted to say thanks for a great discussion, I’ve really enjoyed your posts.

    • October 17, 2012 12:00 PM

      Hi Catherine, really appreciate your kind words ….you know, your post about recreating identities really got me thinking so I must also thank you for that. And I also think you’re already famous in our little community for your beautiful writing and your thought provoking musings so I’d say keep on keeping on. Cheers Roxanne

  3. October 18, 2012 4:49 AM

    Hi Roxanne, great questions. Thanks you for creating this space to share interesting ideas 🙂

    • October 18, 2012 7:02 AM

      You are most welcome Consuelo. Your ideas are always welcome and I’m very grateful for your support of my site.

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