How could print be better than the svelte, instant communications of the Internet? From the lastest batch of student essays on Internet Pioneers, I pick up on an unabashed love of the Internet. You can get it all–music, video, connect to your friends, etc. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are the new pioneers.
I have this deep-rooted devotion to print, that which you can hold in your hands, spill coffee on, mark up and see, and keep for posterity in your paper files. Hard copy. Electronic media vanishes so quickly.
I had one seminal experience. A friend got me one of the earliest digital calendars and address books, in which you could input all your addresses, and important dates. I loved it for a month, until it broke, just stopped working, ceased to be. And my appointments, along with addresses sank into the Black Hole. That black hole is infinity, where all the lost cell phones, spare coat hangars and other debris of life fall.
I’ve had a few other panic attacks, in which I lost some great writing through some glitch of the computer, or through my failure to save often enough.
Maybe you can relate to this feeling, when a paper on which you have slaved, suddenly disappears from your screen. Or your whole computer network is hit by lightning, and you suddently realize that you forgot to save it to a flash drive every minute.
At the same time, digital IS forever. You can’t erase what you put on Facebook from those digital gods in the sky, whoever is keeping tabs on the World Wide Web. As we discussed in class, there are experts who can dig into the recesses of your rowdy college exploits and make you embarassed, if not forever regretful, that you have posted evidence of your crazy college days.
Finally, what to do about archives? Already I have old discs with writing that I would like to resurrect, but no machine that will process the old discs. It is so amazing that we can store so much information on a flash drive the size of a twig. Yet will those flash drives be accessible to the computers in ten years?