Reading this morning the Imperica interview with Marcus (1, 2), I envied his scorched earth approach to digital legacies. I’m too much of a hoarder. I have magazines, mini-discs, university essays, scraps of newspapers, postcards and packaging from relevance past. There’s no need for it, and there’s barely any value either. I’m much the same with online content too.
I have left a trail of dead ‘blogs behind me. Cached ghosts lingering online. I have only deleted one or two, can’t bring myself to get rid of the rest. I move on not because I’m ignored by the “blogosphere” — if that’s your motivation, it’s quite odd — but usually because I grow bored of myself. Of the things I write and how I write them.
Marcus’ approach doesn’t really allow him enough time to get bored of his characters or creations. His willingness to delete, bury and destroy high quality content once it has passed its defined life-span is admirable. That’s easier to do when dealing with characters. How do you do it with yourself?
Unless you’re of particularly strong will and confident of your ability to leave a lasting imprint, I’m not sure you can.
We’re fast approaching an age where our actions are immediately (voluntarily) documented, through twitter, foursquare, facebook, flickr, wherever. We’re using these as proof of existence, and will stand as proof we’ve existed. When we’re gone, we need something our spawn can point to and say “my father made that”. That’s why we have bridges and buildings, statues and monographs. We’re not making so many artefacts these days, mostly creating or fulfilling services. Our mark on the world will be aggregated pages in memoriam or on Google Tomb.
We kind of need this bullshit.