FIND YOUR LEGACY
I imagine findyourlegacy.com and its companion FYL app as being a formalized and privatized extension to aspects of the human condition that drive people to not only record their existence but explore the origin of it and wonder about its future. FYL embraces the human existential crisis that is playing out on Facebook every day and will ensure that users of the app reclaim possession of their history. It directly answers with a service model the questions that some people may or may not be asking: What’s in store for my digital future? Will the images I take, words I’ve written and thoughts I’ve shared matter in a hundred years? If I don’t have children or create something great, how will I be remembered? What’s the legacy I leave behind? No longer will faces from the present have to be remembered by simply an urn or a personalized head stone. FYL puts data log back in the hands of the user.
FYL will give users of the service not only the ability to write their own future obituary in the form of video, audio and written logs, but also maintain a constant, never eroding digital archive that can be willed forward to generations who haven’t even been born. Additionally, the future will be kind to a service like FYL. As advances in cloud computing, digital archive preservation, streaming services and data compression improve in years to come, so will the forward thinking innovation of FYL. With Virtual Reality, or VR, recording technologies and their improvements, due to emerging tech possibilities found in products like Google Glass, it may be possible for users of the service to record their histories without necessary active participation from a first person perspective. Imagine contact lenses recording a perpetual history of an individual for retrieval a hundred years later. It’s the presence of a viable, accessible, living primary source from the past that will change the way history is remembered and taught.
Using an ever expanding massive cloud based service, FYL will begin small with only a mobile application and very simplistic design in the website. This app will be a cross platform design intended to maximize the usership of the service. The design of the app will conserve the familiar iconography of current, similar social media services, like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, that offer a sharing capability in video, picture, audio and written form. The defining design principle that should attract more and more usership will be the company’s intention of conveying a transparent and legal partnership with the clients to support their “intellectual” ownership of their memories as their own property. Thus users of the service have the ability to do freely with the account and content, whether that choice is to extract the data entirely, share the data or build it to perpetuity.
There will still be a place in the world for social services like Facebook and Twitter despite the introduction of a service like FYL. FYL will discard the popular recent site model of sharing and social connections in a web form, for the more traditional service designed to take living with a digital footprint and compiling personal data seriously. However, even though the site will lack a common public facing discourse among members, users can still have private discourse with many of the other users through private messaging. This will give control of whether what they are shooting, writing or recording goes into a public record for posterity and the good of the community. This embrace of the user’s right to possess their data by allowing personal censorship from the public, yet constantly maintaining a private record used for private purposes, can be more attractive to a user. Never truly being confident whether your private data could be used against you in the future is one of the dilemmas that impairs a user’s trust of online information archiving.
TIMELINE AND IDEAS FOR VISUAL DESIGN
The hardest part about envisioning the reality of this purely speculative plan is its size and scope. A significant level of capital would need to be raised in order to build the cloud service sites necessary to begin cataloguing data. Additionally, to do it right, designers and programmers would be needed to maintain its performance. So its hard to create a concrete timeline for an idea that might take years of user contribution to see to fruition.
The starting ideas for the visual design of the presentation will surely be a Keynote or Powerpoint presentation. I could also consider drawing up a logo for the FYL app and website. Lastly, maybe I can photoshop together a rough image of what the app would look like in a mobile environment.
Here are my starting sources. More to come:
Cohen, D. J., & Rozenzweig, R. (n.d.). Digital History | Preserving Digital History. Retrieved March 23, 2014, from https://chnm.gmu.edu/digitalhistory/preserving/
Good, K. D. (2012). From scrapbook to Facebook: A history of personal media assemblage and archives. New Media Society 2013, 15(4), 557-573. Retrieved from DOI: 10.1177/1461444812458432
Knight, J. (2012). Archiving, Distribution, and Experimental Moving Image Histories. The Moving Image, 12(1), 65-86.
Olson, J. E. (2009). Database archiving: How to keep lots of data for a very long time. Burlington, MA: Morgan Kaufmann/Elsevier.
Rentschler, C. A. (2004). Witnessing: US Citizenship and the Vicarious Experience of Suffering. Media Culture & Society, 26(2), 296-304. doi:10.1177/0163443704041180
Sellen, A. (2011). The connected home: The future of domestic life. R. Harper (Ed.). Retrieved from ISBN 978-0-85729-475-3