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February 06, 2009

Blogging and Archeology

3250182archeology954_9d1eb16d74_m I’m watching a lot of documentaries these days. I went to a PBS event and they gave us all these amazing shows that will be in their 2009 season. Watching all the documentaries made me think, what will historians use to see what life was like in my time. So often in historical documentaries they cut to yellowed stationary, and a narrator’s voice reading the letter of a pioneer woman to her family back east or a civil war solider to his wife. Sometimes it’s a ratty diary, but always the handwritten word of a person of the era that makes the whole period seem so much more real, rather than just the distant past.

When was the last time you wrote a letter, other than a thank you note, or a holiday card? Unless historians are interested in what auntie gave you for your birthday, I don’t see these being of much help to the historian of 2200. Now I was never good about diary entries, and I guess there are people who do, do that. I know Oprah is always talking about her journal. But how many of those will survive?

So it occurs to me that historians will look to the blogs, twitter, yahoo groups, and the internet at large where they will find a plethora of information from all walks of life. It will fill in all the blanks in their understanding of us. How many blogs on inauguration day expressed our emotions that day…I’m gonna say all. But even small geographical incidents will have been reported on in their regions. I know, after the last earthquake, I was not alone on facebook and twitter checking the scoop, and that was just a little earthquake. In a real disaster, when the phone lines get over loaded I always find the internet the best form of communication. Maybe they’ll even be interested in the minutia of our lives, what I did when several crayons went through the dryer with a load of laundry, or how Thanksgiving is celebrated, or any other of a million blogs that aren’t earth shattering but do shed light and humor on our lives.

The cyber archeologist will wade through huge quantities of content on their topic of interest, covered from all sides like that picture of the inauguration that was on CNN all the time. If they want the opinion of an Iowan mail carrier they’ll be able to find it, or anyone else for that matter.

The more I’m writing this the more responsibility and pressure I’m starting to feel. I guess I should start paying some attention to grammar and spelling. I don’t want to be the one pictograph they can’t make out.

This is an original post for LA Mom's Blog

Elise Crane Derby will also be cleaning up her blogs at http://www.elisesramblings.blogspot.com for posterity.

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