I’ve provided a lot more information online than I think I have. Every picture, every post, every search, and every video you post is recorded to a database and can be accessed. Over time, you create a “digital life log” of yourself, which contains a history of your interactions online. This life log can be harmful if it falls into the wrong hands, however it can also have a positive effect on ones life. The ability to look back on your previous actions can provide an incentive to change and improve your life.
An example of a common digital life log is Facebook’s new timeline feature, which allows users to look back to certain dates and see what they’ve posted. This timeline creates a life log of pictures, status updates, and events that are specific to that user’s life. I have posts on my Facebook that date back to 2008. I can look back on these posts and see how I was acting or what I was doing on certain days. Just by looking at my Facebook, I can see how much I’ve changed over the past couple of years. By looking back on how dumb I was in middle school, I can see how much I’ve matured since then.
I also enjoy being able to look back on all the great memories I have from high school on Facebook’s timeline. You can relive moments, and interact with friends and family who shared those moments with you. Researchers at UC San Diego and the University of Warwick found that Facebook updates are one and a half times more memorable than reading a book, and two and a half times more memorable than faces. This shows that Facebook users remember a lot of their posts and interactions on the timeline, which enhances their memory in the future. So instead of just looking back on updates and moments, Facebook is actually helping me to remember those great moments.
Digital life logs such as Facebook are becoming a reality in our everyday lives. These life logs help individuals gain a better understanding of their lives and even remember the moments they cherish. People should realize how valuable these technologies are in our lives, and use them to interact and grow.
Because of the rapid development of technology, humans have experienced a big bang of information. Although admittedly it brings a lot of data we can accumulate, analyze and then utilize, we need to keep a balance between its downsides and benefits. From printing press to computer and some other medias that consistently blow an significant amount of information to us, the development of information technology has gone a long way that our daily life is inevitably intertwined with social networking and medias. Even though technology has caused our concerns in many different ways, we should not ignore the benefits and privilege it gives us.
Cameras and camcorders grant us the privilege to look back into our childhood, recall those important moments in our life and imagine what we would do if we could take the time machine and go through those moments with a much more mature and experienced mind. I love watching the videos taken in the past, because they show what happened with sound, motion and people’s expression. Watching the video of my grandfather and I collecting shells and catching crabs on the beach in my hometown, I always longed for the curiosity I had towards the endless possibilities of nature. I had lost the pure appreciation of life as I grew up and found out the brutal sides of the reality. The video was like an intangible string which linked me back to the past and reminded me to remain thankful for the good things we have. When my grandfather passed away, I was confused and angry about his leaving. He went to a place where I had no clue and nobody would ever share the pure happiness with me of simply finding a shell that has never been seen before again. Life is all about balance. The more time we spend on and love we attach to someone, the more painful it would be to lose him or her. However, as a kid who had no idea about what life is, I had more confusion than sorrow. Without the video, I wouldn’t have been able to revisit my childhood and see my growth throughout these years.
Technology gives me the opportunity to keep my childhood memories and those precious moments. Yes, we cannot ignore the downsides and technology, but as long as we are not abusing the power of technology and become more aware of the things happening around us, we can still keep a balance between technology and our life.
Until now, I’ve never really thought about all the information about myself that I have put on the internet: where I am, what I’m doing, who I’m with, and even what my goals in life are. If a random person were to dedicatedly follow all three of my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts, they’d have quite a detailed lifelog of the past few years of my life. Yet these social networks aren’t the only services that have kept track of my life. Google has all my history, my favorite places to visit, and where I’ve been and what I’ve searched while I’m at those places. My favorite exercise application Strava tracks where, when, and how fast I walk and run throughout my day. Through all these services I’ve inadvertently created a lifelog of my own, which, at the moment, doesn’t seem too interesting or helpful. But I feel like if I were to sign back in on my accounts in twenty or thirty years, these services would actually be of use to me. I’d have pictures and statuses from this period of my life that I most likely would have forgotten about without these programs. They’ll allow me to more easily reminisce on these years of my life without the struggle of solely using my memory.
In my opinion, I think these technologies help our lives. Yes, in the moment they may be distracting us from homework and also as a kind of popularity contest, but posting these pictures and statuses over time begins a lifelog that can be useful to us in the future where we can learn from our well-documented pasts. Not only will it help us remember the good times in our life, but also learn from the mistakes that we made in order to not recreate them as an adult. And who doesn’t want a picture with hundreds of likes!?
The idea of a lifelog intrigues me. By preserving a digital record of my life it opens the possibility of revisiting it later or even “traveling back in time.” Although the lifelog takes place in the ambiguously distant future (at least one generation), our current reality already has a similar albeit fragmented version. Facebook has pictures from day to day life. Google has all my emails and calendar events and Dropbox has all my documents.
Recently I got a smartphone and I was rudely awakened to the fact that Google recorded all of my location history for the past couple months. Google Location History had all of my movements whenever my GPS unit was on for Google Maps. It was both really creepy and really cool. Seeing my movements step by step throughout town and flying across the country (coming to Georgia Tech!) both fascinated and disturbed me. Just like how the lifelog records the character’s everyday life moments, Google Location History has recorded all of my physical locations. Seeing road trips unfurl step by step brings back good memories and gives me a sense of accomplishment. Rather than having to keep a diary with all my own notes and records, technology (with or without my knowledge) has done it for me.
Even without the all encompassing nature of the lifelog, today’s life log equivalents already have a ton of really interesting uses. Computers and programs can trawl through and present us insights that other wise would be hidden in the monotony and function of daily life by looking at trends or connections that span multiple people/groups.
Big data and data mining have recently become a huge trend in computer science and is being applied in all different fields. By tracking our daily lives with something like a lifelog, those methods could be applied to our behaviors and even help us diagnose social issues.
Hopping from service to service I can recreate any major events in my life in pictures, words and other data. Technology keeps a record of my life so I don’t have to. It allows me to enjoy the memories and share them with others. An argument can be made for the loss of “real life” and “in the moment” experiences with the advent of technology and everyone taking pictures of life around them. But I think that as long as a conscious balance between technology and life can be made, the two complement each other and enhance our understanding of underlying causes.
When social media was created, the objective was lucid, but the mechanism by which it would be utilized was unclear. Most people would say it came into existence to facilitate social interaction and networking in its quickness and brevity, but after reading “The Truth of Fact, The Truth of Feeling,” I have come to recognize its capacity to serve as an external hard drive for memories. I tend to only post occasionally or on special occasions, and I try to keep my digital footprint very positive, boosting my reputation for any opportunities in the future. Looking back on my accomplishments will bring back pleasant feelings of nostalgia when I have a job and a family. However, this filtration of posts could cause a shift in my overall view of life. The positive posts remain, possibly leaving a falsely optimistic impression of the past and, by comparison, more negative connotation of the remaining memories not published to social media. The only way to combat this phenomenon is to internalize my memories accurately internally and externally, providing two ways to appreciate the past.
The population should be aware that social media is addictive and can dilute the feelings associated with memories. While the Internet is a great place to store information, this can lead to a decrease in the sentimentality of the information. When thoughts or events are digitized, the humanity of the moment has the possibility of disappearing from the person himself or herself. Some memories are made to be cherished internally, and if they are released to the world, memories can be tainted and lose their value.
Sometimes, I just want to go back to my past. Although I realize that all the sweet memory of the past is inflated, I cannot help it. But you cannot really live in your past again, and perhaps that is the key of its sweetness. Today, however, technology made it different. Taking out the memory of the past has become partially possible, thanks to the development of technology. Simplest way of doing so is just visiting your photo album. I frequently visit websites such as Facebook to recall the memory I had with my friends, loved ones, and family. I sometimes look at posts I uploaded years ago and remember how I was when I was young. Many times I feel that such methods are much better than merely recalling the past in my head. Technology has somewhat made possible of the idea of time-traveling by producing a way to visit the past in more lively and vivid ways. Yet, just like dynamites of Novel, the use of technology of taking out your past, unfortunately, have its side effects. In my home South Korea, there are tons of celebrities who were criticized harshly by the posts or videos they had uploaded before their debut. Everybody say or do something crazy when they are young. I also have memory that I want nobody to see. But since photo album or posts on the internet are semi-permanent, there are potential risks that others can find out your mistakes or action of the past. Posts and pictures that you upload right now can backfire you and be used in ways that you do not want it to be. Use of technology can be dangerous as it is sweet.
I don’t use Facebook or social networking in general much anymore, but I figured for the sake of this assignment I thought it would be a wonderfully fun idea to go through and see everything that I have posted since I made my first social networking account. Let’s get down to business.
For starters, it looks like I was pretty immature as a freshman in high school. To be totally honest, some stuff on my profile from back then I wish I could just go back and delete. For example, many pictures I uploaded about 4 years ago and man posts that I wrote then are either very immature or even just plain don’t make sense. Feel free to have a look for yourself, there’s nothing I can do about but be completely embarrassed down the road right? In addition, I don’t even have to knowingly post something myself in order for it to show up on the internet. All that I have to do is be “tagged” in it and then there it is for all to see! Everyone in the world would most likely see me as a very silly and immature high school student who is now a very silly and immature college student. Not too good of an impression I want to make on a potential employer. If I was an employer and saw a internet profile that looked like mine, I would most certainly be hesitant to hire the person in question.
In addition, I do agree with Ted Chiang’s claim that some memories are best left unremembered. Social networking sites really are becoming to look a lot like the “Remem” he dreamt up in Truth of Fact, Truth of Feeling. Whether we want to remember something the way it is or not, it’s all over the internet to haunt us forever, just as Remem records each and every one of our memories and saves them for all of eternity. Sometimes it can be a blessing, but often times it is a lifelong curse to carry around those unwanted memories.
I started using Facebook when I was in 6th grade. It was mainly due to peer pressure. A lot of my friends where getting profiles and it seemed like the social thing to do was to make one and chat with people online after school. I was careful to make sure that I never accepted a friend request from someone I didn’t know and never posted any information such as my cell phone number or address. However, there may be some posts or comments that I made when I was young and immature that were regrettable. Any information shared online is in most ways permanent. Even if it is removed the information from the site, it could still be in the servers or someone could have copied it.
The permanence of the internet and digital data means we rely less on our memory now more than ever. While Ted Chiang’s story goes to extremes with the concept of life logs and Remem, his ideas aren’t entirely off base. Storing contacts on social media accounts means people don’t have to spend precious brain power remembering them, but it also means that everyone else has access to them to, as there is nothing online that is completely secure. It could also mean that our memory function are diminished since we no longer have to strain them to remember so much information. I don’ remember the names of all my friends I had ten years ago or some of the things I did, but Facebook let’s me see what I did 8 years ago when I started using it. What needs to be understood as these can never replace memory because they don’t come from personal perspective.
Somewhere out there, floating around in the infinite pool that is the internet, is a documentation of my life beginning from the moment I discovered the existence of social media. I wish I could say I knew what I was getting myself into from the moment I submitted my first post, but that’s not true, and I don’t think it ever will be. When I look back at old posts that I wrote when I was twelve or thirteen, I smile at the thought of how young, naïve, and immature I was, but the thing is, it doesn’t stop there. Yes, thirteen seems young to me now, but eighteen will seem young to me when I’m thirty, which will seem young to me when I’m fifty. It never stops. The idea of my life documented in a series of permanent posts can be terrifying if looked at from a certain perspective. Knowing that other people may be able to follow my day to day adventures by looking through pictures or statuses I’ve posted is a little worrisome. Not only that though, but everything I post evokes a specific memory or emotion associated with a significant event, and it can be overwhelming to scroll though the history of my Facebook, only to remember everything I’d forgotten about my past. Revisiting this information in the next 10 years would definitely be a strange experience. I think that I would feel a bit nostalgic to be honest, for in 10 years, I hope that I will be settling down and creating a family of my own, and being reminded of my teenage and college years would probably seem like a throwback to the time I was first gaining my own independence and trying to figure out the true concept of responsibility while still having room for mistakes. Looking back at these posts in thirty years will be a positive experience I think, because by that point, I will hopefully have a better understanding of myself and will be able to reminisce on the experiences that made me who I will be. Having these documentations to look back on will definitely help me to remember my past, present, and future more effectively, for they’ll offer more details to events I may have forgotten. For example, I can look at a picture and remember what I wore on my graduation day. I can recall how I felt when receiving my diploma simply by seeing the look on my own face in a picture. However, while having some sort of documentation of one’s important life events is beneficial for many reasons, there is a healthy balance that must be obtained as well. Keeping a photo album or journal of sorts is good in that it offers opportunities for reflection later on, and it can also help a person to remember events that they found to be special. Documentation can also help to bring back emotions associated with an event that may enhance your memory of it. On the other hand though, I think that people need to be careful not to invest in technology so much that their lives become consumed by it. If you’re too busy posting statuses all the time, you may miss an opportunity that would be worth remembering. Also, I would advise that you document these moments for yourself, and not for others. Upload a picture for the sake of you being able to go back and look at it, not so that other people can see it and be jealous of your experience, or to see how many people approve of your post. Keep it personal, but always remember that other people can see it too. I offer this perspective because I think that, while other people can use social media to keep up with your life, I’ve learned that the person who will look back at your own posts the most will be you.