Friday, June 6, 2014

How Did We Remember Anything Before Facebook?

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Life has been hectic for me over this past week. Hectic might not even be an adequate enough word. Lots of memories of family gatherings, every day happenings, and precious moments bubbling to the surface during long travel to and from my father's funeral. I felt myself mentally straining to remember the names of some absent distant cousins and locations of vacation spots from long ago as I listened to random stories of his exploits great and small, unusual and commonplace, some familiar and others totally new to me.

Prior to Facebook, remembering or even knowing about all of the day-to-day events in a person's life, ranging from mundane occurrences to exciting events and vacations, depended upon either being present or sharing details afterwards during family or social gatherings or during the weekly or month phone call home. How many small details were forgotten by the time those calls were placed and how many details were remembered afterward?

Social networking tools like Facebook have created a fabric of memories that can be shared with family members, friends, and strangers alike, both near and far, and revisited and referenced afterward. How much richer will memories be for those with whom we choose to share the events of our lives enriched with photos and links to videos and websites compared to relying on the dendrites and synapses of our brains to record and retrieve the same information?

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