We are at the first period of history in which we are able to preserve our lives for the rest of time. Not in the sense that we will be remembered like people from centuries ago, but in that we are able to preserve a sense of your everyday life—not as a society, but you.
An unknowable amount of information is lost when someone dies. Even if you spend hours upon hours with them, like a parent or sibling, conversation topics never seem to run out. Even in our own lifetimes, we constantly forget things that may be cool to look back on eventually. Can’t think of any? See what I mean?
But kidding aside, even if this information may not be vital, there is no reason for not preserving as much of it as possible.
There are a lot of websites that do a good job at collecting info; Facebook is chief among them. Until recently, however, it was not very good at displaying it. The new Timeline feature, which allows anyone to easily navigate through your entire life, is good at displaying it.
Some people argue that it is an invasion of their privacy, but I don’t buy it. Using Facebook, everything that you put on it, and choosing who sees it are all 100% voluntary. There are a lot of benefits of knowing real time things about your friends (see this), but Timeline is about something completely different.
I intend to fill in my Timeline more than I’m guessing most people will—including a great deal in pre-Facebook days. I’m not doing it to be in-your-face about my life, because I have an addiction to virtual scrapbooking, or delusions of self-grandeur. I don’t care if you ever look at it or not.
I am doing it for my great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren.
Maybe some Saturday night in 2202 they’ll get a kick out of looking at how I would actually go running in a pair of sandals, that in second grade they actually put a room in my school with computers in it, that there was something called ‘second grade,’ or perhaps most shocking to them that there was a time when I didn’t have a ‘computer’ (we won’t call it that by then) in my brain.
Why would my great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren give a crap about me? If the robots haven’t killed us or destroyed Facebook’s servers by then, I hope that they are like me, in that, it would be cool right now to see what my great-great-great-great-great-grandfather was doing in the 1830s. I don’t even know his name; my relatives will know what song was listening to when I wrote this.
So, I don’t think we will ever die (I’m not speaking hypothetically or figuratively here, I literally mean you and me won’t die) and that’s awesome because I will have a record when I sit down with my relatives. But in the chance that I do bite it, they’ll have a heck of a family history… er, timeline.