Sunday, April 1, 2012

Timeline & Life Logs

"A person's life-log, therefore, will not be just an enormous digital archive, it will be '...a kind of universal prosthetic memory' which '...creates profound differences in our consciousness and in our work practices: all which had been fleeting or consigned to a folder itself consigned to dust is now, should we wish, active and present in our lives" (Dodge & Kitchin, p. 8).

I thought the explanation and thoughts about life logs in the Dodge & Kitchin reading was really interesting.  You can see life logs come to life through the development of Timeline on Facebook.  It's basically a short graphical representation of your entire lifetime on Facebook.  Timeline is all about making the information that exists on Facebook, more accessible and viewable to other users and "friends."  Of course when Timeline was first rolled out and any other time Facebook makes forced changes to the social network, about a quarter of the Facebook population threatens to leave.  However, the longer one remains on Facebook, I believe the harder it is to leave because your Facebook profile is a representation of your life doesn't just summarize your life for others to see, it summarizes your life for you so you can remember, reflect, and review your own history/existence.  Timeline remembers so you don't have to.  

I know for me personally, I may not be as active on Facebook as I used to be, but I feel like I could never get rid of my profile because of my photo albums.  My mom has an entire closet of photo albums for my siblings and I while we were growing up, and my Facebook profile holds all the photos and digital images of my life that no one else was there to record for me.  It may sound silly but...I feel like I can never delete my Facebook because I don't want to lose the memories of that time in my life that I experienced on my own.  I don't want to delete that part of my life log.  With everything we talk about in class about how people were raised without the Internet and without certain technologies, this preservation of my life log seems so frivolous and unnecessary, but I guess since Facebook provides me that opportunity to record my history, I will take full advantage of it.

Of course, the end of the Dodge & Kitchin reading expressed an interesting thought:
"Life-logs are unforgiving of mistakes because of their ubiquitous and merciless memory; forgetting allows forgiving.  Without fallibility life-logs might never happen because people will oppose their development.  In that sense, forgetting may be an essential ingredient to pervasive computing" (p.  17).

It would be interesting to see if life logs will ever cross a moral/ethical line that will result in the creation and enforcement of more strict Internet laws.


  1. I really enjoyed this article, even as much as it gave me the creeps! The idea of having a "life log" that is more permanent than your own memory that can be accessible to others seems scary at best. It feels like it serves a narcissistic purpose -- what is the reasoning for needing such a log?

    The examples of the blogs where they show what someone eats every single day for a year or one's self-portrait for a year seem self-indulgent and narcissistic. Who are the people interested in these blogs and why? What is the gain in reading such a blog? Who is reading such a blog every day?

  2. I'm with Janell, and I also posted about this:) Something else I want to point out is that in the days of photo albums, our memories of events were largely constructed from our own perspective (i.e. pictures we took, things we wrote down) which is also what the life logs are suggesting, but Facebook Timeline constructs a memory from the perspective of our friends as well (i.e. posts, pictures, etc).

  3. It's true that we're creating a "Face" on Facebook, but what about the photos and videos that we block from others to see? I mean...well...hate to admit this (not really) but I have photo albums and videos blocked on Facebook...if it were okay for me to portray the real me on Facebook (or admit to my ex boyfriends that I didn't ACTUALLY delete all our photo albums together haha) I wouldn't have a problem hiding them, but since it's not, I keep these albums for me to look at so I can remember what happened in my life and who I was at different times of my life. Just because others don't see my "true-life" on Facebook, doesn't mean I don't want to. I'm just saying, what YOU see, constructs a memory/image for you, but what I see constructs a different memory/image for is more valuable to me for me to remember everything about my life than it is for others to remember every detail of my's still my memory from my experiences...Just because I keep it private doesn't necessarily always mean I'm trying to create an image of myself for others...sometimes it's so I can preserve who I am for myself...

    Its not so much that I'm trying to create an image of myself for others, it's that...I don't think the many acquaintances who I'm friends with on Facebook have earned the right to have access to my life-log since they haven't put in any true effort to know the real me...:) something like that.

  4. Rebekah, I can relate to your version of your Facebook lifelog. I'm not a big Facebooker but I do upload photos to share with my immediate family and for personal storage because it is convenient. I have the photos on my computer but I like the Facebook lets me organize them and select who is able to view them. I think I might not be on Facebook if it wasn't for the photo feature.