Who waits until the end of their life to write about their experiences for posterity? That takes patience and endurance, two traits rendered unnecessary by the advent of the Internet age.
Whether you blog, post a video on YouTube, search for classmates, load photos on Facebook or update your Twitter status, you’re indirectly writing your biography.
In fact, it’s a truer “autobiography” in the sense that the memoirs of today are automatically generated.
The memoirs of the past, published or gathering dust in the attic, consist chiefly of words with a few pictures. The makeup of tomorrow’s memoirs, however, will be a melange of our Internet-throttled lives: portfolios of links, histories, data, videos, conversations… all verbatim.
In essence, we’re creating the memorials to our past through the tools we use in the present, and all without a thought.
It’s a milestone in life, reaching the age when you realize that your parents were not always your parents. Long before you were born, they lived very different lives that you could never witness.
Sure, you might hear stories about your mother’s past or find personal mementos of your dad’s childhood stowed in an crumpled box. But sometimes it feels like the complete story has never been (and may never be) told.
In fact, by the time many young adults begin to care about their parents’ upbringing, it may have become a question too awkward to ask. After knowing each other for so long, it’s oft assumed that the history lesson has been covered somewhere along the way. Why blow the dust off the same book twice?
Now, imagine a different world of decades past, a culture of personal computers, high-speed Internet, and the social network. In short, the culture of today.
Your parents tweeted, blogged, published, posted, searched, embedded, and took full advantage of the web to color their lives from an early age.
Suddenly, the pursuit of yore is accessible, the memoir is composed, the material present and searchable. The investigation takes on new ground: virtual ground.
Everything your loved one did is open for history. Memories tweeted can be read, conversations on Facebook walls can be recounted, videos from college can be watched, photos from high school dances perused.
In the digital era, memories increase 10o fold. The story is told for you, by you, without the slightest thought.
Twenty years from today, our children will form a clearer picture of who their parents were before they were born. What you write, read, purchase, upload, download… all are clues that form a clearer picture of who you are. And your kids will take notice… someday.
Facebook will be as much a history book as it is a tool to connect, and its readers will be very interested in what you had to say.