I've often wondered about how the recording of history would be affected by so much online communication. A few years ago my family got some things out of storage we'd put in storage before moving to Germany. Twenty years later things that seemed so precious now mostly looked like junk. One of the treasures, in my eyes, however, were letters my mother had written home during her time as a Red Cross worker in Vietnam in 1969. They were so interesting! What I'm sure seemed like boring routine to the eyes of 1969 was so informative to the eyes of 2006.
But today we text and blog and facebook. None of it is written down in diaries or journals to be discovered by family or historical researchers in a hundred years. Would we lose our history?
Take this blog for example, as lousy as it has been in recent years. It records much of what it's like to live with Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome (and other life things from time to time). How might that inform a future world of medicine? What if in all the progress we're making in genetics, someday everyone knows so much about their genes they don't live with unknowns the way we do. What if those of us who know we're going to get sick before it happens are breaking ground from a life experience standpoint that someday everyone has to encounter? What if there's value to my boring day to day that could one day be very enlightening to historians?
I'm happy to say there is someone out there archiving the internet world, including blogs. Sadly, I found by little blog wasn't archived. Well, I can't say I'm surprised - grin! But, it is nice to realize this thought has occurred to a number of academics. (Not that I'm surprised - I just never knew the answer.)
Here's the site: http://archive.org/web/web.php