Saturday, March 26, 2011

Fire-and-Forget Memories

So, a lot of people I know write stuff online. They write on LiveJournal. They write on Blogger/BlogSpot. They write on Twitter. They write on FaceBook. They write on any of dozens of other sites. Many, like me, frequently choose to write about things both personal/private and more mundane "public" stuff. However, I wonder if the people that write all this stuff are like me in why they write.

For me, writing online is about preserving memories. Part of preserving memories is going back and periodically reviewing things. For me, it can act as a grounding-force. I can tell whether the high/low/whatever of the current moment is normal, an aberation or part of some kind of a pattern. It can help me remember - or even just refresh - the character, the feeling or flavor of the things written about. It can also remind me of "promises" I've made to myself and to see how well I've done in those.

A big part of why I scatter my writings in so many places (and make the vast majority findable by search engines) is so that they don't become lost. If one site goes away, I don't lose an entire chunk of memories - of my life. To me, what I've written for myself is critical.

As I do with my own writings, I sometimes look back through things friends have written. Sometimes it's just a random perusal. Sometimes it's with a purpose. Sadly, it seems that in a non-trivial number of cases, people write things so that they can get them off their chest ...and then summarily forget them. It makes me wonder, why they're committing it to "Internet Memory" at all? Wouldn't it make just as much sense to write it on a piece of paper and then just burn it? Or, for that matter, why write it down at all? Introspection absent review isn't really introspection.

I swear: the longer I'm around and the more I interact with - or even merely observe - people, the less I understand them.

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