For the first time in human history, tools for complete documentation of one’s life are available to a significant chunk of the world’s population. Think about this: A kid born today has all his pictures and events uploaded to Facebook because his mom and dad are sharing their lives with their friends. In time, that kid gets his own page and through that constant interaction with social media is creating a detailed, living documentary of his life.
An entire generation is going to have their lives written in the cloud. Imagine if George Washington had a Facebook page, how interesting would it be to be able to get inside his world from his own eyes? History students of 30-40 years from now are literally going to have autobiographies of anyone they feel like studying. Profiles complete with status updates, music listened to, photos taken, conversations had, events attended, a complete as a recording of a life as we will have ever seen. I can imagine history textbooks (doubt those will exist traditionally then but…) that include the social profiles of historical figures.
We appreciate the photos we have from the early days of photography, imagine the wealth of recorded media our children are going to have access to. A favorite quote of mine is by George Santayana, “If we cannot learn from our history, we are doomed to repeat it.” The idea that future generations will have such rich access to their history not only intrigues me, but gives me hope that—as cheesy it sounds—we as a people will become a better race because of social media and how immediately in touch we can be with strangers, world leaders, celebrities, and soon, our entire history through the viewpoints of interconnected millions.
Think about this: What if Anne Frank had a Facebook? What if Mozart had a last.fm page? What if Davinci had a Flickr account?
Facebook is not only shrinking the globe, its shrinking the timeline and recording history-yours and ours-in an amazing way.