Cyber history and the legacy you leave – A message for the future.

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To Tweet or not to Tweet.  That is the question.  How much of your online footprint will live on into the far future?
To Tweet or not to Tweet, that is the question. How much of your online footprint will live on into the far future?

I was doing a little research into American history the other day.  As is often the case, random thoughts bounce around my mind.  Sometimes these thoughts do nothing more than ricochet off the sides of my brain, then collide, cancelling themselves out (metaphorically of course), but one observation remained in my mind.  It’s probably in the back of yours too; maybe you’ve already thought about this, maybe you haven’t.  This is less of an article and more of a random musing which is far too long for Twitter.

Lets agree for the moment that providing there is not some massive meltdown of the internet and its connected devices, that the Internet and its collected data is going to be here for a long time, its going to get larger, faster and probably far more interactive than we can imagine at the moment.  You’ve probably at some point tried to use the Internet to look up family history with mixed results.  If your ancestor was William the Conqueror, then you are probably in luck.  If your distant relatives worked in a bakery, then you probably won’t have much joy.

But today is different.  If the Internet doesn’t get switched off (so to speak) then 2,3,4 generations time will have access to what YOU are doing right now.   You may wonder what your great, great, great grandmother was doing on this day in her past.  Chances are that answer is completely lost to time.  Your future generations, when they ask the same question of you will probably know the answer.

Twitter, or any other social network will have an insight into your life, your beliefs, your fears and in 200 years from now something you put on Twitter today could be the subject of a heated debate in academic circles.

Now I know its a little romantic to think Twitter and your thoughts will be stored in 200 years time, but with the cost and ease of digital storage, its certainly highly likely that your digital footprint, your mark on the world, will remain for years to come if not for the majority of human future history.  Its a little humbling to think that at least some part of you will live on in the digital world far into the future.

Just imagine if we had a Twitter insight into the mind of histories most well known people.  Just imagine if during the American civil war, Twitter was available and even had a #northsouth hashtag? Historians would rejoice as we would be in a far more informed position about this period of time, which is why I think the data we are collecting now is less likely to be disposed of at some point in the future.

If Shakespeare could have tweeted, what would he have written?

Gave Francis Bacon a couple of copper coins for his latest work, I should make mint from this one. #oneborneveryminute

So when people say you should think before you make a public comment on any social media, maybe you should consider that the picture of you sleeping in a puddle of vomit after a night out, may not only be seen by a future employer, but also by your future relatives.  And if that’s the case, then I’ll take this opportunity to say hello to mine:

To my future relatives with holodecks and warp engines,  I really hope that computing is as good as I think it will be and I hope Google got around to including a “disable trackpad” option on ChromeOS.

Regards to all, both future and present.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Very insightful. THANK YOU TIM!

  2. Amy Butcher says:

    “Gave Francis Bacon a couple of copper coins for his latest work, I should make mint from this one. #oneborneveryminute”

    That is a tweet for the ages! Classic.

  3. I started blogging in ’07 and the amount of weird stories of drunken nights out and dodgy situations I wrote about was ridiculous. They’re still there, but I’m hoping they’re buried under a huge pile of more interesting and respectable blog posts and that most potential employers wouldn’t bother looking that far back. I’m probably wrong though.

    1. openbytes says:

      I think employers would be less likely to dig them out…However, 200 years from now when your distant ancestor wants to make a family history book to impress family members? You’ll be great material! – You may even get on the cover!

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