- Internet & the Web
Thank God for Blogging
I have one photograph of my mother as a child - just one. She was aged 4 and it was a formal pose at a professional photographers. The earliest photo I have of my grandfather is at the age of 18 posing in his World War 1 uniform before he left for the war again at a professional photographers. This is because at the time, a camera was a very expensive and very fragile piece of equipment. It required patience and skill to use. As for me, my life is a little better documented in photos - mainly black and whites until the Sixties when colour photographs start to pre-dominate. This is because cameras had become more robust and certainly more affordable by then. The photos are still restricted to special occassions because development was still an expensive and skilled business carried out by professional developers.
Today it is a different story.
Cameras are so cheap that they are everywhere - there are cameras in your pocket, cameras on your phones, webcams on your PCs and even CCTV on the streets, if you know how to tap into them. And now they are up to 13 Megapixels so that you can capture every dimple on a gnat's backside. And there is no negative to be developed - it is all electronic. And because it is electronic, it is immediate. Point. Click. View. You can take a photo on your phone and then immediately upload it onto the Internet straight onto your Facebook page.
The same is also true of writing. I once tried to keep a diary which I handwrote with a pen. The problem was that I usually thought of something to say when I was out and away from my diary so that by the time I got back, I would have forgotten t. And because I had to find the diary, sit down, get out my pen and write everything in long hand, I felt that I had to say something a little bit more exciting and more significant than "I just had chips for my dinner". Nowadays, people have laptops and mobile phones connected to the Internet and can record a thought instantly - no matter how trivial: "I'm going down the stairs. I am opening the door. I am in the street ...."
So, we now have a generation growing up whose entire lives have been catalogued and recorded in intimate details (some very intimate) from the moment they have been born and probably will continue to be until the day they die. It is entirely possible that the average person will now write more in their lifetime than WIlliam Shakespeare did in his.
What a treaure trove for their grandchildren and great-grandchildren because we all take an interest in our grandparents and the lives they used to lead - especially when it is filled with strange words like "gramophone" and even "VCRs". The only things I know about my grandfather's life are the things he told me about while he was alive - which was precious little. I know so little about his wartime experiences. I have no idea how he met my grandmother and why they only had one daughter. The grandchildren of this generation will be able to answer all of these kinds of questions about their history and so many more.
Of course, it will also lead to some interesting scenes in the future:
Suzy (aged 6): "Granma! Granma!"
Granma: "Yes, Honey?"
Suzy: "Granma, I've just been on your Facebook acount when you were 15. Who's Joey? What's a french kiss? And why did you want to give him one?"