During this delightful time of year when every college student is busy beyond belief, or perhaps on the brink of collapse after pulling an all nighter for the three midterms that he had in one day, there has been a digital trend that has brought amusement to this abundance of library inhabitants – digging up old stuff. Because of the immense procrastination occurring at the collegiate level, many students have turned to the past to find sources of amusement. For example, a video that I made my junior year in high school has suddenly resurfaced. It has been on my facebook page this whole time, yet until now it has gone practically unnoticed. It went from having 7 likes on Monday to 161 likes on Thursday. This is just one example though, as more and more profile pictures from the eighth grade are riddling the college student’s news feed – oh my how people have changed!
Not only is this content somewhat hilarious when it is someone else and embarrassing when it is you, but it also hits on some of the ideas that Nancy Baym and Dannah Boyd talk about in their works. Boyd’s article “Social Network Sites: Public, Private, or What?” outlines how the four properties of persistence, searchability, replicability, and invisible audiences make mediated publics different than reality. Her term of persistence is exactly what has happened with this trend. Just like she said, something that I posted while in high school is still accessible today. Her property of invisible audiences also held truth for me, as I even received a message from one of my high school teachers who enjoyed seeing the video again. Baym reiterates these themes in her book Personal Connections in the Digital Age, as she accredits digital information’s reach to the asynchronous nature of online communication. Overall while this trend is in good fun, it has taught me an important lesson about the persistence of any information posted online.
If you are interested in watching the video here is the link.
(Note: Some words have been removed for privacy)