It never ceases to amaze me sometimes the seeming delusions of grandeur that permeates the social media niche of the tech world. That doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in the possibilities of how social media – social conversation – can change our society in fundamental ways. It does mean however that what we are dealing with today are only the rudimentary tools of a nascent ideology.
That said there is no way with our current technology that you can even come close to suggesting that anything being written today on services like Twitter or Facebook is of any historical significance. Not only that there is absolutely no reason to even think that any of it will be around in a 100 years time – let alone even 10 years.
Ayelet Noff over at The Next Web has for some reason fallen for the idea that the crap that currently flows through Twitter or Facebook is of some sort of historical importance that this generation and future ones will deem it worth of some historian having a wet dream over.
Sorry Ayelet but you along with Ben Parr who you quoted in your post are drinking way too much social media kool-aid and you need a reality intervention.
Both of you go on about how every one of our actions, our feelings, thoughts are being constantly recorded. Well beside the very idea of that happening is exceptionally creepy what makes you think that any of this will even exist beyond a point where it will survive in any usable form and hold any historical value. Seriously.
Over at Mashable Ben gets all effusive over how social media is going to change recorded history. Are you kidding me?
Like, who is really going to give a damn what the hell you or I were doing in the month of November in the year 2009 at some point in the future. That silliness aside there is the whole technological and business angle that you seem to be ignoring.
As it stands right now Twitter only keeps our data for a certain period of time and ask Thomas Hawk about the long time permanence of our online lives. Ask all the users of Sidekick when they potentially lost all their data or how about all those users who have been kicked from Facebook?
This idea that that just because social media is the hot ticket in a very small segment of the online world and that because of it we are creating some sort of new permanent record for future reference is nothing but an illusion. That so-called record exists only as long as companies want, or are able, to keep the data. That isn’t permanence. Not by any stretch of the imagination.
The one point I do agree with with Ben on though is that there will be an ethical war over how that information is used and that sir will be an event for the history books.