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March 28, 2012

I quite enjoyed reading Matthew Ogle’s ‘Archive Fever: A love letter to the post real time web’, as I felt it deeply captivated the essence of personal archiving in the most modern and understandable way. He brought out a modern definition to a concept that has historic undertones due to its purpose of recording data. Ogle referred to the “real-time web” as not only a personal archive but also a window to potential growth for the technical engineers behind online media. What I was left with after reading Ogle’s piece, was the idea that because the “real-time web” acts as our personal archive and as a memory device, constantly recording our every published thought and never seeming to forget the past, I felt that this was a clue into the different ways that online technology and even, technology in general is starting to take over human capacity.

As Ogle mentions himself,

“What were you thinking about on November 23rd, 2009? You probably have no idea, but Twitter might. What was your personal soundtrack to the summer of ’07? Ask Hit up Dopplr to find out how many miles you travelled last year, Foursquare for the Berlin bar that people you know check in to more than any other, or Facebook to see the photos of the last time you hung out with your best friend on the other side of the world.”

I’m unsure as to how to react to such a thought, whether to be somewhat worried or excited for the future. Online archiving through these social media platforms, restricts us from escaping the past and how we felt during adversities we have struggled. On the other hand, humans have created this and I dare ask, have we blindly created a monster? Ogle seems to be quite optimistic about the opportunities and even, strives to strengthen and improve the already existing archives, ” The real-time web might just be the most elaborate and widely-adopted architecture for self-archival ever created” (Ogle, 2010).

As I then read Acara, My School Home,  I found that when archiving is used in restricted ways such as this student effectiveness tracking tool, that it is useful and beneficial for the community. In contrast to My School Home for example, sites such as Twitter and Facebook are used so liberally and have given access to inappropriate, regretful and unforgiving statements and actions. From this we see a definite pro and con to archiving. Thus, this may give technical online engineers an idea of how to navigate the direction of archiving in terms of social media and online tools. Personal archiving is instituting irreversible, permanent and public records of our intimate lives and sells it to the world. Though these adjectives attain a negative connotation we must also remember that archives do serve optimistic and useful purposes such as remembering those positive moments that the human conciousness cannot remember. On a positive note archiving is a mnemonic institution, remembering important facts that the society needs to keep track of. On a more negative note, I believe that any advances in “real-time web” and personal archiving may destroy the human right to control their memory and forget unwanted memories. Although in some cases such as the Apartheid Archive Project, unpleasant memories can serve to make us stronger.


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