Outrunning Your Digital Tracks…

The NYTimes article “The Web Means the End of Forgetting,” is both exciting and haunting at the same time.

Way Back in 1992

201007220049.jpg Years ago, I had a cool, big black letter portfolio. I used to collect cool pieces of marketing deliverables that I created or worked on into the big oversize binder. A lot of these items were the output after lots of research, testing, and production. “Special” things made their way into that portfolio. Marketing brochures folded into works of art with spot varnish accents, photos from product and people shoots, research reports with cool charts, agency comps on black backgrounds, and even clever attention-getting mailers part of big PR campaigns.

After a while, I noticed that more and more of my marketing deliverables were digital. There really wasn’t anything to “put” in the binder. I had to go out of my way to “store” things. My binder became a “folder” on my hard drive that continued to fill up and migrate from old to new laptops.

I remember learning about the Internet Archive. I thought it was cool that there was a way to step back in time and see web sites and product content that I had created for various product and marketing launches. Browsing the pages was a walk down memory lane. It was also obvious to see where we improved messaging, where VC funding dropped–much better “creative”, and even see complete workflow refinement over time.

That is exciting and cool. Then there is the haunting.

2005 to the Present

The realization that everything you have said, pictures captured by others, even responses to comments from friends will live on forever in the digital vault is a bit scary. Learning that every Twitter post will be archived in the Library of Congress was a little weird to me. Perhaps it’s because I see so little value in the content. Regardless, someday my kids or a friend will probably pull up a status update, a wall post, a silly tweet, or a snapshot of some dumb face or finger in my nose to taunt me.

Today, you can’t find your account “creation date” in Facebook. Based on my own “history” review (thanks to messages saved in Gmail), it was around Q1 2005 when I joined TheFacebook.com. I felt like an old man. I was one of the oldest people associated with BYU.

201007220052.jpg And then came Twitter. Unlike Facebook, you CAN find the day you joined Twitter. My Twitter birthdate was May 14, 2007, two months after friend @humancell’s. I’ve found I’m too busy for Twitter, but still try to post a few items as part of my “digital” history of what I’m doing. Unfortunately, working on projects for a public company (NASDAQ: LOGI) prevents me from sharing a lot of detail about the things I’m working on. But the trivial, boring, “what are you doing” stuff still makes it back to my Blog. In fact, Twitter as a micro-blog has been allowed me to keep my blog “alive” despite not many long posts.

Good news is this all digital note taking started long after my high school days and at a time of my life that I’m probably one of the most conservative people out there. However, when you analyze “…everything…”, like most people, I’ve said or done a lot of stupid things over the past few years.


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