sprezzatura: (History)
First thing's first! Addendum to yesterday's poll, including various programmes I had forgotten about or which other people said I should have included. This way for the Tickybox )

I have been at university this morning and one of the topics that came up in discussion was whether, in this age of digital disposability, we would leave any records of our lives for the historians of the future to pick through and write dissertations about. I wasn't going to admit to keeping a paper diary in front of a room full of twenty year-olds, but there is one (several volumes worth, actually) and when I get round to it I might do a [livejournal.com profile] shewho and publish some of it here. Maybe in years to come someone will find my detailed accounts of Neighbours episodes of the late 80s, or rants about how crap the top 40 was in 1991 useful as part of a study of the popular culture of the day. Who knows, in a hundred years, someone might decide to base their PhD thesis on what the best rides were at Chessington World of Adventures in 1989 according to the opinion of a fifteen year-old girl.

Of course, there are other personal records: letters, medical details, Nectar points, even receipts from which people of the future could learn about us, which have inspired the following poll:

What will you leave behind? )

What I really want to know is what is going to happen to the Interwebs in the future? Here we all are, busily trying to save Livejournal, but exactly what are we saving it for? I've been rambling away online for well over a decade now, and ignoring for a moment the very important civil liberty/identity issues, I'm quite upset by the idea that there might not be a record of any of the long, rambling email conversations I used to have back in the days when it was a novelty. I would like to think there is a dusty old server somewhere that might still be storing the archives of long-defunct Hotmail accounts with cringingly cheesy goth names, but the idea horrifies me as much as it comforts me. Can any geek types offer a view on what might happen to all the nonsense we churn out? Should we try and download the whole lot now and store it away for posterity, or is it gone for ever?
sprezzatura: (Kinkaku-Ji)
I've just been to a lecture on what is effectively my last module of my degree course, about the American Civil War. I think it is unique amongst the seventeen modules that I've taken in the last couple of years, in that I knew absolutely nothing about the subject in advance. I must admit, it was a bit of lesser-of-three-evils choice that I didn't think would interest me very much, but it's beginning to capture my attention. The one piece of relatively trivial information I took from today's lecture was that the last survivor of the conflict died in 1959. This shocked me because the little information I had in the back of my head about the war was that it took place in the nineteenth century and was as far removed from the modern world as, for example, the Napoleonic Wars*.

When Harry Patch died I remember someone on my friends list saying it was a poignant marker of the passing of time, the way the First World War slipped out of living memory. When I was K's age many veterans were still alive, and all my grandparents remembered the war. It still felt like something within a lifetime's reach rather than "history", which it has now become. I'm quite struck by the fact that when the last American Civil War veteran died, my dad was only five years younger than I was last summer, so it would be reasonable to suppose it had a similar impact on his generation as the effect of Harry Patch's death on mine. I suppose for K's generation it'll be the Second World War, or Vietnam. Both felt almost tangible when I was growing up - both my parents talked about their World War II experiences and Vietnam was still going on when I was born. It's odd to think of them sliding into the abstract. It seems so disrespectful just to let such important things go, and if I were ever called upon to justify studying history I think this would be one of my main arguments.

On an unrelated note, I've just watched Caught In The Web with K. Children's Internet safety is all over the news today and it does worry me. I stopped K from using Moshi Monsters the other week when I found out people she didn't know could send her messages. She still uses Club Penguin, which has a system I rather like where other members can only send standard, pre-written "postcards" to people outside of their buddy list. It's hard to strike a balance between protecting her safety and frightening her. The programme we just watched frightened her a little and she said this evening that she didn't want to use the Internet at all any more. I can appreciate how she feels. I remember watching this when I was about the same age and it frightened the crap out of me. As I mentioned on Facebook, Internet Paedos are the new Stranger Danger.

I guess it all boils down to the same thing. The reason the 80s video frightened me was that I didn't entirely get it. At seven, I had no idea why dodgy looking men might want to lure me or any other kids into their cars, I just convinced myself there was one on every corner. Similarly, K hasn't got a clue why adults might want to pretend to be children in order to talk to her, but now she is afraid that everyone on the Internet is dodgy. I need to find a way of explaining to her why she needs to be cautious without worrying her unnecessarily and without going into age-inappropriate detail about The P Word. I'm not sure Caught in the Web got it quite right, but I'm confident it will be something that gets picked up by her school.

Anyway, I think that's quite enough nostalgic rambling from me, and three posts in two days must be some kind of record for me. What were your favourite terror-inducing public information films, viewers?

*Actually around fifty years apart.
Page generated Sep. 24th, 2017 05:25 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios