The tracks we leave.

Did you know that if you use Google Chat — and I do — it saves a copy of every single chat you have? I didn’t, until this morning:

10:17 AM me: The headline of the week comes from the Daily Mail:
Runner up:
Burns: eeeewwwwwww.
Next runner-up:
10:18 AM Burns: life is too gruesome sometimes.
me: “The son is working for the Daily Mail, it’s a steady job but he wants to be paperback writer.”
Burns: paperback…writerrrrrr…
oh yeah
doo wah

That was from May 2006. What will the biographers of the future do with this information? Is there nothing Google doesn’t know about us?

I feel stupider already.

Posted at 3:45 pm in Media |

7 responses to “The tracks we leave.”

  1. LA mary said on July 27, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    If I google my maiden name I get nothing except the inquiry, “did you mean marybeth tinning?” My maiden name is Sinning. Anyway, Marybeth Tinning is a woman who murdered 9 of her children, convincing people they all died of SIDS. Someone kindly gave me a lurid paperback about her when I was pregnant.

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  2. nancy said on July 27, 2007 at 5:16 pm

    I’m reminded of James Lileks, who once dropped the astonishing bombshell that he was printing out every word he had ever published, and having it bound between hard covers. He also makes a monthly “family movie” so that there will be an archive of his daughter’s entire life.

    Contrast that with our great-grandparents, whom we might remember from a single sepia photograph, if at all. My parents shot a single roll of pictures in a year, and I find pictures from 20 years ago where I can’t even identify all the people in them — and they were in my apartment. What the hell are we recording, saving and archiving all this crap for?

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  3. alex said on July 27, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    Dunno. Everyone thinks Nixon was stupid for doing it and time is proving us right. Even I’m getting my titties tweaked by people over things I said years ago on the Internet.

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  4. LA mary said on July 27, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    Lileks’ words are precious.
    I have a co worker who prints out every email she sends or receives and saves them in binders. This is not because she thinks they’re special, though. It’s because she has no idea how to archive email.

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  5. brian stouder said on July 27, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    Contrast that with our great-grandparents, whom we might remember from a single sepia photograph, if at all.

    A summer ago, the girls and I went to a reunion of folks on Pam’s side of the family – farm people who have farmed in the same county for generations. Only about 30 people (mostly old!) showed up, and one of them brought the ‘OLD old’ pictures; sepia shots of men and women, outdoors in their Sunday best, amidst farm implements and horses….and the funny thing was, if you looked on the back of those photos, the hand-written captions had names like ‘Old Jack, Smokey, Julie’ and so on….they noted the names of the horses and NOT the people!!

    Pretty good reality check (Aunt Susan and Cousin Emily may or may not be worth noting, but Old Jack looked like a tremendous horse!)

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  6. Michael said on July 27, 2007 at 9:05 pm

    Contrasting opinion, from the history major here (early 20th century economics), related to the explosion of photos to archive. I recently overheard a conversation that went something like;

    Wasn’t it great back when photos weren’t perfect? Remember how charming all of those ‘out of focus’, ‘mis-framed’, ‘badly exposed’ photos of our childhood were. The one’s with all of the clutter and mess in the background, and ancillary people standing just out of reach? It’s really too bad that our kids will only have perfect digital stuff that erases the muss and fuss of their youth.

    Oh, well, if it isn’t one thing, it is another.

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  7. E said on July 28, 2007 at 12:26 pm

    You know the real issue–

    People my age (twenties, and teens too) who weren’t born with the need to keep anything private. It’s like we’re missing the modesty gene…maybe the common sense gene. So we all have blogs and MySpaces, Facebooks, and we’re being honest with the entire world–and it’s messy.

    And it’s all getting catalogued by Google. There’s a file for all of us.

    And thus, we’ll never be able to get a good job in the future. Because employers will look it up and forget what it was like to be young and stupid and trying to figure it all out–

    Oh, well.

    Something to consider in the brave new world.

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