Monday, March 22, 2010

The Persistence of Memory

“It has the potential to give them a solid grounding in their childhood throughout their adult lives, allowing them to relive memories and to keep loved ones close in memory after they are gone…” (Heverly, 2008, p. 216)

My digital life is still very surreal. It is not apart from my life; it is a part of my life. Yet it has a foreign quality; it is a place I visit, but it is not home. Sometimes, it is like fresh air and the wonder of gazing at the stars; and sometimes, it is like awaking disoriented in the middle of a dream.

I wonder how my son will describe his digital life. His digital birth occurred within minutes of his physical birth. There are photographs and a text message as testament to his entry to the world. There is already a website dedicated to his image; a place to share pictures with loved ones far away. It is a brag book that has world-wide publication. It isn’t updated nearly often enough to suite his small following, but it is there.

When he is no longer a fair-haired boy, how will he relate to the notion that he already has an online identity? Will it seem natural to have his mother give birth to his virtual identity (as she did his physical self), or will he feel a sense of regret that he was not given the option of how and when he became a subject of digital media?

I am hopeful that pictures of himself with loved ones and family will be a blessing to him, that this persistent memory book will have meaning to him as we grow older and some of us are "called home" one by one.

In tribute to the quandary that is life in a time of persistent digital media, I present:
The Persistence of Memory
Salvador Dalí (Spanish, 1904-1989)

Heverly, Robert A. “Growing Up Digital: Control and the Pieces of a Digital Life." Digital Youth, Innovation, and the Unexpected. Edited by Tara McPherson. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2008. 199–218.

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