Social media forever changes how we explore history. That statement, while innocent enough, has profound implications for future generations.
I grew up learning history from textbooks and memorizing the exploits of explorers like Christopher Columbus, Vasco Nunez de Balboa and Amerigo Vespucci who I remember writing a paper on. I know that today history is taught with a lot more attention to the every day people who lived rather than the famous ones but we still have so little information on the lives of the masses. The everyday lives of most people is lost to us. We see often see their lives through the eyes of those who wrote about them, not in their own words. Social media has changed forever the way we will record and learn history.
With the ability to record, photograph and video our daily lives, social media has given future generations a window into the everyday lives, thoughts and feelings of those that will come before them, “us”. Think of the wealth of information on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and others. For many people these social media sites provide a platform from which to explore their feelings, relationships, beliefs, opinions and the simple nuances of their everyday lives. Future generations will know what we thought about everything simply by having access to social media platforms.
Think of the ability for a family to pass on this type of personal information to future generations. It will seem as if you were actually listening to your great great grandmother when you didn’t have the opportunity to know her at all. To me this wealth of historical information is an invaluable role that social media will play over the coming decades. Technology has made it possible to know the everyday lives of generations so that history does not depend on those in power to tell the story. Nor will history books be able to gloss over events that are “unpopular” or show a negative slant on things. With everyone a journalist, photographer and videographer, the voices and pictures of the past will speak for themselves.
I did an oral history project many years ago for college and I remember talking to a 90 year old woman about her life in Manchester, Connecticut. I recorded our meetings and then compiled a paper which fascinated me because of its personal richness. It was the ancient art of history through storytelling that could now be kept on tape. How far we have come even in the last 20 years with technology and the emergence of social media.
A platform such as digi.me which allows us to save our social media content provides everyone with the opportunity to pass on a living diary of their life to their family members. How incredibly powerful the access and control of this personal information will be not only to those using it in their time but to the vast accumulation of personal historical knowledge.
About the Author
Debbie Harris is the President of Performance Intermedia, LLC a social media consulting company. Debbie works with businesses both for profit and not for profit to ensure they are getting the most out of social media and understand best practices. She has a Master’s Degree in Social Media Compliance and the Law. Performance Intermedia, LLC provides social media strategy, graphic design, training, effective social advertising and posting for their clients. Debbie is a very active Rotarian both on the Club and District level. She sits on the Advisory Board for a local high school. She has just completed an e-book on 7 Strategic Techniques for Gaining Clients from LinkedIn and writes for several publications. Debbie does workshops and seminars related to social media and its effective use. Debbie can be reached at Debbie@PImedia.me.