Can We or Should We? Preserving Digital Memories and the Internet

Estimated read time 3 min read

Today, I’d like to delve into an intriguing topic that has captured my attention: the ability to keep our cherished digital memories alive in the vast realm of the internet.

The internet has undoubtedly transformed numerous aspects of our lives, both positively and negatively. However, one aspect that has particularly fascinated me is the potential for preserving our memories online, potentially forever. (Of course, it’s worth mentioning the cautionary tales of regrettable digital mishaps, but that’s a conversation for another time.)

Recently, I’ve been assisting my mom in the scanning and organization of our family’s personal photos, some of which were lovingly passed down by my late grandparents. This process allows for the preservation of these precious memories and, in some cases, the documentation of valuable information about the people and moments captured within. Moreover, it provides an avenue for sharing these cherished photos with other family members, fostering a sense of connection.

While engaging in this endeavor, I couldn’t help but reflect on previous generations who lived before the advent of the internet. Their legacies often reside within a dusty box of photographs stored in someone’s basement, perhaps accompanied by keepsakes. However, little else remains to commemorate their lives in the digital sphere.

In fact, until recently when I uploaded their pictures to our family tree on, a visual representation of my grandparents didn’t exist on the internet, apart from birth and death certificates that are gradually being digitized. This realization sparked several intriguing questions:

πŸ“Œ Do we have an obligation to preserve the memories of our departed loved ones online?

πŸ“Œ In many cases we would not have explicit permission to embark on such an endeavor so should that stop us? As long as the photos are tactful and decent, is it a privacy issue?

πŸ“Œ Does this digital preservation open up new avenues for identity theft?

Admittedly, the last question might seem far-fetched. I pondered the potential negatives of such an initiative, but the truth is, with the advancements of AI, creating virtual representations of individuals (real or generated) diminishes the necessity of stealing their photographs.

I’m genuinely curious to hear your thoughts on this matter. Have any of you contemplated or are currently engaged in preserving digital memories via the Internet? Let’s spark a discussion and explore the possibilities together.

Thank you for your time and insights.

Warm regards, Jack

I attached 2 photos courtesy of my mom, Marcia McVickar.

The left is of my grandfather, Edward Donald McVickar as well as my dad, Paul McVickar and yours truly.

The right is my grandfather, Jack Warren Jones as well as my grandmother, Sammie Lee Jones and my mug again. (Only half credit to my brother Scott McVickar since he’s only partially in the picture.)

#PhotosΒ #digitalassetsΒ #digitalpreservation

Originally posted on LinkedIn June 28th, 2023

Image credit – Marcia McVickar

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