Of all the tools available to keep track of the past, social media could prove the most detrimental.
Let's take Instagram for example. Imagine having to explain to your children why an image that was taken in 2017 has the same desaturated colors as the one taken in 1970. The picture is essentially a copy of one they might see from generations earlier, taken by your grandparents and featuring your mum or dad as kids.
The worst is Snapchat...
"Hey Kids, that's your grandma on the night I met her, don't bother about the dog ears, nose, and tongue. Wasn’t she beautiful?.
For thousands of years, humans relied on spoken word as a means to pass stories from one generation to the next. Later, communication progressed to information written on scrolls and rock, audio recordings, and then video. Now, we have the means to preserve each of these in our pocket..
The impact of this is humongous. Each person with a smartphone now has the means to create a historical archive, and can do that with every image, video, or status update.
And aside from all the ways we’re messing up historical archives with dog-eared lenses and Instagram filters, we haven’t even touched on the bigger issue: the massive amount of data we’re leaving future generations.
On Facebook alone, users upload more than 350 million photos a day. Twitter sees around 500 million new tweets daily — that’s around 6,000 per second. And it’s not really the amount of data that's the problem; it’s the lot's of useless information we’re leaving.
I feel bad for future historians that will invariably have to make a proper analysis to get an accurate view of our history.