The stories of our lives are being lost. We now carry mobile devices that can snap photos, record videos and communicate what is going on in our lives via our social networks but we fail to record many meaningful stories of our lives and we do a poor job of organizing and preserving our exploding volume of digital memories. Here are 8 ways we fail to preserve our memories…
1. Recording the stories of our lives is not part of our routine
Keeping journals and writing letters used to be commonplace and these physical records were some of the most valued items passed from one generation to the next. We now text, email and post, but too often requirements for brevity and concerns about privacy limit what we record and there is limited thought given to preservation. Many of our most important memories, thoughts and feelings stay trapped in our minds, fade with time and are lost when we are gone: the funny things our kid said; how that favorite teacher influenced us; the travel experience that changed our perspective on life…all lost forever.
2. We believe pictures tell it all
Most of us still believe “a picture is worth 1000 words” but how often have we looked back on one of our photos and struggled to identify what was going on at that moment? If we can’t recall the “who, what, when and where” context and stories behind our own content, it will be impossible for others to do so in the future and the value of these memories will be significantly diminished and will probably be discarded. Imagine a biography with nothing but a picture section – this is what most of us are creating today. Even if our digital pictures somehow happen to be preserved, what will they be worth to us and others without the stories and context that give them significance?
3. Content is fragmented across storage media and people
The personal content that illustrates our lives is typically fragmented, stored in filing cabinets, boxes, albums, social media accounts, devices, online storage accounts, hard drives and other storage media. It is also fragmented across family members and friends. This fragmentation makes it difficult to collect, organize and preserve the memories for us, and others, to look back on.
4. Social media services control access to our content and are ephemeral
What happens to the content on our social media accounts when the service goes out of business or we die? Most of us would not want to archive everything posted to our social media accounts but some content is meaningful and worthy of preservation. Currently, this content is likely to be lost or, in the case of Facebook, “memorialized” for your Facebook friends but inaccessible after that.
5. Data storage providers have limited organization and visualization features
Cloud storage solutions like Dropbox are useful for data back-ups and accessing content from multiple devices but they are typically file folder based and do not offer features such as adding notes, tagging and changing metadata. This limits how useful they are for capturing and preserving the precious memories of our lives.
6. Digital media may fail, be damaged or become obsolete
Remember floppy disks? Storage media technologies change rapidly and content stored on obsolete media becomes inaccessible. Furthermore, digital media is susceptible to environmental damage and failure. For example, hard drives have failure rates estimated at 2-4% and may be as high as 13% under some conditions. Oh yeah, and then there’s those times you accidently lose or break your phone that didn’t have the camera roll backed up…
7. Digital formats change
Saving a digital file does not guarantee it can be opened at some future date. There are thousands of file formats and many have become obsolete or can no longer be opened by the newer versions of the applications that created them.
8. Physical storage is declining
As people have become more comfortable with consuming digital content, the amount of content being converted into physical form (e.g. printed photos) has declined. While there are risks that physical content may be lost or damaged, having a physical record as well as a digital one increases the chances of content being preserved.
At Arkiver we help you save life stories by providing ways to overcome these factors preventing memory preservation. Try it out for free at arkiver.com