My phone is remembering memories for me, and I don’t like it


Had this weird but not so weird thought yesterday that all this blog nonsense is just people telling other people what they are doing, as if others care, or worse yet, should care. (Yes I get the annoying irony of that this is on a freakin blog.) I remember studying in journalism class — round 2008 — when blogs were just gaining clout and journalists had to choose whether to embrace them or to see them as a threat.

A teacher of mine, a communications professor who was from Africa, told us to start a blog and write in it for assignments. That’s how I started blogging. Yet, nearly 10 years later, I am still not sure how I feel about it. I suppose it’s just one in a sea of social media now, so having a look into a random person and/or familiar person’s life without them knowing is normal now.

At the end of the day, media, from blogs to snapchat to facebook to newspapers, is simply stories. Our storytelling formats have grown vastly. They’ve become rapidly more accessible. But why? Why is our need for hearing stories, sharing other’s stories and telling our own story so seemingly important. Why, from fiction to supposed fact, do we crave a start, a conflict and an ending?

Is it instinctual from past generations to want to remember and to be remembered?

I think about our capacity to remember and our ability to remember. Phones and computers have allowed us to forget more and more because we have a safety net. We have an external storage unit in the form of a pocket robot, which basically allows us to forget everything and look up anything.

And yet the rapid ability for a robot to remember things for us / record things for us has made us more nostalgic than ever. Without actually remembering, we can be reminded of what happened to us on this day last year, two years a go and the year before that. Essentially, we’ve upgraded our storage and accessibility to memories. Of course we can remember with photo books and 35mm cameras, but the accessibility and depth of collection just isn’t comparable.

We can see memories in photos or videos. We can read them in cascades of posts or notes. We can hear them in voice memos. But is this actually remembering, or is it simply a reviewing of our past. You might say, really, though, what’s the difference between the two.

Maybe somethings just aren’t meant to be remembered.



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