Last year my grandmother celebrated her 80th birthday. We had a big party and it somehow fell to me to create a slideshow of pictures that gave a tour of our family’s history.
With a baker’s dozen of kids and over 40 grandchildren there were plenty of memories to go around. The most interesting ones, however, were further back not in the photographs, but in the slides. My grandfather, who I hardly knew, took lots of them.
We got a projector one night and sat down with almost the whole family trying to take a look. Many were taken over 50 years ago, when most in our viewing party were barely alive.
Collectively, we figured out who most of the people were, but it would have been a lot easier if you could tag people back then.
When I put pictures on facebook now, I’m not thinking about a day that I will look back on them, though I’m sure that time will come. I am thinking about multiple generations into the future, when my great-great-great-great-great grandchildren will look at them.
That seems like an absurdly long time—even the pictures we sat around looking at were only of our great-great-grandparents at most. But that’s the great thing about the internet: It’s forever.
It’s possible that I will be there to show them myself, though the world will certainly be quite different.
The oldest photo in the bunch were of my grandmother’s great-aunts. It’s quite possible that the only memory that exists of them is held within that single picture. It’s a bit of a sad thought, really, especially in comparison to what will last forever from each of us.
Imagine going back and reading every tweet and status update from those young girls in Czechoslovakia. What an incredible insight it would be into their lives. You would know what music and books they liked and where they liked to hang out.
That’s exactly what type of insight and more your grandchildren will have into your life.