The high level of detail with which sites like Facebook record events interferes with our natural ability to forget, suggesting that a need exists for digital forgetfulness. In contrast to widely accepted notions of the desirability for legacy through photographic and text-based documentation, being able to quickly surpass every detail of a difficult experience, can be ultimately advisable for personal and social betterment. Understanding the role of human memory in personal development might provide an explanation for how digital archiving hinders the natural process of letting go. This in turn could lead to a solution that would restore the ability to forget every detail of past experiences.
SENSORY MEMORY: INFORMATION WE RECALL THROUGH OUR SENSES. LASTS A FEW SECONDS SHORT TERM MEMORY (STM): HOW THE INFORMATION WE GATHER THROUGH OUR SENSES IS TRANSFERRED INTO OUR CONSCIOUSNESS. THIS IS ACTIVE INFORMATION THAT LASTS UP TO 30 SECONDS. READING THIS SLIDE IS AN EXAMPLE OF STM. WORKING MEMORY : IS THE PROCESS THAT OCCURS WHEN FOCUS ON MATERIAL LASTS LONGER THAN STM WILL ALLOW. AN EXAMPLE OF THIS WOULD BE MEMORIZING A PHONE NUMBER DISPLACEMENT: WHEN NEW INFORMATION PUSHES OUT OLD INFORMATION STORED IN STM. FOR INSTANCE, YOU ASK FOR THE AREA CODE AND THEN INSTANTLY FORGET THE LAST TWO DIGITS OF THE NUMBER YOU HAD PREVIOUSLY MEMORIZED LONG TERM MEMORY (LTM) : DECLARATIVE MEMORY : MEMORY THAT WE CONSCIOUSLY ACCESS SEMANTIC MEMORY: GENERIC FACTS; FLORENCE IS A CITY IN ITALY EPISODIC MEMORY: AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL MEMORIES; I LIVED IN FLORENCE FOR 4 MONTHS DURING COLLEGE. IMPLICIT (OR PROCEDURAL) MEMORY: AUTOMATIC MEMORY THAT HAS BEEN STORED DUE TO EXCESSIVE PRACTICE OR HABIT; IE. BRUSHING YOUR TEETH
WE THINK OF EXTERNAL MEMORY THESE DAYS IN TERMS OF TECHNOLOGY, SINCE IT IS THE NAME GIVEN TO PORTABLE DEVICES USED FOR STORING INFORMATION. HOWEVER EXTERNAL MEMORY HAS BEEN AROUND FOR MORE THAN 30,000 YEARS.
UP UNTIL DIGITIZATION--THE PROCESS OF RECORDING INFORMATION IN DIGITAL FORMAT--INFORMATION WAS IN ANALOG FORMAT. THE PROBLEM WITH ANALOG IS THAT EVERYTIME IT’S COPIED, RANDOM VARIATIONS OR NOISE ARE ADDED TO THE ORIGINAL INFORMATION. EXAMPLES OF THIS WOULD BE COPYING A CASSETTE TAPE OR XEROXING A PAGE FROM A BOOK.
“ SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME, FOR US HUMANS, FORGETTING HAS BEEN THE NORM AND REMEMBERING THE EXCEPTION. BECAUSE OF DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY AND GLOBAL NETWORKS, HOWEVER, THIS BALANCE HAS SHIFTED. DIGITIZATION--ELIMINATED THE EROSION OF INFORMATION THAT HAPPENED WITH ANALOG FORMAT CHEAP STORAGE--IT TAKES MORE TIME TO GO THROUGH YOUR INBOX AND WEED THROUGH OLD EMAILS TO DELETE. IT’S EASIER TO KEEP THEM ALL AND IT COSTS NOTHING! EASY RETRIEVAL- WE DON’T HAVE TO READ PAGE BY PAGE OF A BOOK TO FIND INFORMATION ANYMORE. WE CAN SIMPLY TYPE KEYWORDS INTO A SEARCH ENGINE LIKE GOOGLE. AS A RESULT, FINDINGS ARE DECONTEXTUALIZED GLOBAL REACH- EACH INTERACTION MADE CAN BE SHARED WITH OTHER, WHO THEN SHARE IT WITH OTHERS..AND SO ON.
IF WE ARE CONFINED BY MEMORIES OF OUR PAST, WE CANNOT LIVE AND ACT IN THE PRESENT. THROUGH SOCIETAL FORGETTING, HUMAN BEINGS HAVE THE CHANCE TO EVOLVE AND TO LEARN FROM PAST EXPERIENCES.
HERE’S A PHOTO OF ME THAT I FOUND ON FACEBOOK A FEW WEEKS AGO. IT WAS A CANDID SHOT MY FRIEND TOOK OF ME ACTING INAPPROPRIATELY. NOW LET’S JUST SAY THAT I THOUGHT THIS WAS HILARIOUS AT FIRST AND I PUT THIS UP AS MY FACEBOOK PROFILE PICTURE. IT’S UP THERE FOR A FEW DAYS AND I START THINKING ABOUT HOW THAT MIGHT LOOK TO POTENTIAL EMPLOYERS. I TAKE IT DOWN AND ASK MY FRIEND TO DELETE IT. WHEN I GOOGLE MY NAME A WEEK LATER, THERE IN IMAGE SEARCHES. LET’S SAY THAT A WELL KNOWN BLOGGER FINDS THIS THE FUNNIEST PICTURE EVER. HE DRAGS THIS PHOTO TO HIS DESKTOP AND ADDS IT TO HIS PAGE. ONE OF HIS FOLLOWERS PUTS IT ON REDDIT AND 3 MILLION PEOPLE HAVE SEEN IT. WITH THIS KIND OF ACCESSIBILITY, WE LOSE CONTROL OVER OUR INFORMATION. WITH ALL THE CIRCULATING COPIES BEING MADE, MY CHANCES OF PERMANENTLY DELETING THIS ARE SLIM. CHANCES ARE THEY’RE ON SEVERAL BLOGS, ON PEOPLES DESKTOPS, SHARED VIA EMAIL. I’M HARDWORKING AND A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR THE JOB THAT’S JUST BEEN POSTED, BUT TO THE EMPLOYER LOOKING ME UP, I APPEAR TO BE A SEXUALLY HARRASSING FLOOZY. HUGE LIABILITY. NOW OBVIOUSLY I CAN’T THINK OF ANYONE WHO WOULD FIND THIS THAT AMUSING. BUT JUST PICTURE YOU IN YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT AND HAVING IT BROADCAST TO THE WORLD.
SO WE SEE THE IMPORTANCE OF FORGETTING, BUT WHAT ABOUT THE COUNTER ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF REMEMBERING? GORDON BELL HIGHLIGHTS THE POSITIVES OF REMEMBERING WITH SUCH DETAIL. BELL IS A WRITER AND PRINCIPAL RESEARCHER AT MICROSOFT WHO USES A SENSE CAMERA AROUND HIS NECK TO SNAP PHOTOS OF PEOPLE HE MEETS. HE’S SCANNED AND CATALOGUED HIS ENTIRE LIFE FOR MORE THAN TEN YEARS. IN HIS BOOK, TOTAL RECALL: HOW THE E-MEMORY REVOLUTION WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING, HE GIVES EXAMPLE AFTER EXAMPLE OF HOW HIS LIFE LOGGING PROGRAM MYLIFEBITS HAS BEEN A POSITIVE TOOL IN AIDING HIS MEMORY. AND THERE ARE MANY NOTABLE POSITIVES. DIGITAL MEMORY HELPS
ACCORDING TO MARTHA THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOW WOMEN AND MEN REMEMBER. WHILE THIS IS BY NO MEANS PROVEN, THE INTERVIEWS I HAVE CONDUCTED REGARDING FACEBOOK USAGE HAS LED ME TO BELIEVE THAT GIVE EXAMPLE REGARDING SURVEY CONDUCTED ON FACEBOOK USE. GENDER DIFFERENCES REGARDING FACEBOOK –THIS MAKES ME NERVOUS….
Digital Memory and the Demise of Forgetting (Can’t think of anything better at the moment)
<ul><li>This thesis presents the hypothesis that the external memory created by social networking sites and other forms of digital recording in cyberspace may have negative consequences for personal and professional advancement. </li></ul>Hypothesis
What is Human Memory? mem•o•ry (mm-r) n. pl. mem•o•ries the faculty by which the mind stores and remembers information Oxford Dictionary
Memory is a two-step process <ul><li>The first step of memory is committing information to long term memory </li></ul><ul><li>The second step of memory Is retrieving that information </li></ul>
What is External Memory? <ul><li>Information stored outside of the human mind </li></ul><ul><li>Forms of external memory </li></ul>
How digitization has revolutionized external memory <ul><li>“ By eliminating noise, the incremental forgetting inherent in analog technology, the notion of originals and copies is rapidly becoming an outdated concept. All digital copies are indistinguishable from the original. This has the advantage of giving everyone who possesses a ‘copy’ perfect access to all of the information and value of the original” -from Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age, p. 60 </li></ul>
Forgetting <ul><li>“ Today, with the help of widespread technology, forgetting has become the exception, and remembering the default” -from Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age, p. 2 </li></ul><ul><li>Four factors that have contributed to forgetting becoming the exceptions: </li></ul><ul><li>Digitization Cheap storage Easy retrieval Global Reach </li></ul>
Why We Forget <ul><li>As INDIVIDUALS we forget so that we can survive </li></ul><ul><li>As a SOCIETY we forget so that individuals can redeem themselves </li></ul>
The challenges presented by the demise of forgetting <ul><li>Power </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Accessibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Durability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Comprehensiveness </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Time </li></ul>
Wouldn’t we rather remember than forget? <ul><li>Good memories are worth remembering (show info graphics for list below) </li></ul><ul><li>Captured moments that bring us happiness </li></ul><ul><li>Birthdays and wedding anniversaries </li></ul><ul><li>Provide companies with knowledge necessary to operate </li></ul><ul><li>Prevent society from making the same bad mistake twice </li></ul><ul><li>But what about bad memories? </li></ul><ul><li>“ But you can easily avoid replaying [upsetting] memories” </li></ul><ul><li>“ You can put a lock on those events you’d like to forget and never open them up again” </li></ul>
But for some of us, avoiding replaying painful memories is not easy… <ul><li>Memory and gender </li></ul>
The greatest challenge <ul><li>so for those of us who can’t avoid fixating on an ex’s Facebook profile or the hateful comments posted on our Youtube video, there is another challenge that we face with the demise of forgetting: the ability to cope </li></ul>