• Mallory Garber

Why Time Capsules are the Best Method for Preserving your Legacy | NotForgotten

There are so many different methods of preserving our legacy, most of them flawed. So how are we to pick the right one? Read this blog to ensure you are choosing the safest way to keep your memory alive.

I don’t think a day has gone by in the last 7 years where I have not taken a photo. It could be literally anything and I will feel the need to take a picture of it. Receipts, order confirmations, a sunny day, outfits, a good hair day all fit the criteria. Walking around with a mobile device that takes photos has given us the power to pretty much save whatever we want. If there is anything I have learned in my 21 years of life it is that people have to see it to believe it. Proof is the one thing on our side, and cameras give us that. That being said, there is a point where one may have too much proof.

Sometimes I look at my phone and think, “do I really need all this?” Followed by my phone answering for me and crashing. Take a look at your phone, how many useless photos and videos do you have sitting there…then again, how many valuable ones? Are they safe there? Our whole lives are built inside of these small devices with only so much storage. Every so often when I forget to back up my phone and it breaks I mourn the loss of years worth of memories.

Then there is social media. I think about my Instagram that has been around since the early stages of middle school all the way until now. My followers have watched me grow from my cringe worthy braces and awkward posing phase to my fun, college self. Over the years I picked up on the trends of posting, crafting the ideal profile for myself. If you think about it, social media is just another platform made to capture our favorite memories…and favorite outfits. When you take a look at someone’s profile you aren’t going to see the bad times. People post the happiest best looking version of themselves, a representation of how they want to be perceived by the world — lets call her Optimistic Me.

So what about when I die? Is Optimistic Me going to be killed off? Some social media companies will memorialize your page or channel, but it usually involves a vast amount of administration and there is a huge legal minefield around who owns social accounts and their content. Essentially there is no real certainty that “your” account is necessarily “yours” to pass on.

And what happens when Instagram is not popular anymore? Is my identity thrown away? Is my youth no longer preserved? I know I’m asking difficult questions, but they ultimately all lead to the same answer; yes.

Look at Facebook for example. New platforms are always around the corner. If there is one trend that can be counted on, it is that all trends come and go. For a while, Facebook was considered revolutionary….now? Not so much. Every generation is going to have a new social media preference. The difference between the demographic of Facebook and Instagram is already extremely noticeable. Where I used to post albums to Facebook, I now revert to the use of Instagram when I want to share something. So what comes next?

It feels as though whatever app we use we believe it’s going to last forever, only to see another app with the exact same concept and a different name take its place a few years later, usually followed by the sharp and sudden death of the first platform.

Before digital, things were more simple….most people stored their memories physically in the form of paper photos and preservation belonged to the next person in the chain who was given the photo to preserve. But the pictures of these peoples lives were far more simple too — lacking all the technicolor of the social media and video we are able to create today. As the world moved on, we invented new methods to save our memories and stories digitally, but for how long are they actually stored? Again with the questions…I know I am asking a lot, but the goal of this blog is to make you really think: Who keeps track of my legacy after I am gone? I really want my great grandchildren to meet Optimistic Me in my favorite outfit…and I don’t want to have to depend on Instagram for that.

It’s hard to really think about the big picture and where it takes us, but I want to make sure you are heading in the right direction. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of methods out there for storing information, but are they capable of preserving it for long periods of time?

So I guess you are thinking that I could preserve my digital “social” legacy together with my blogposts in my digital filing system. Then add my tens of thousands of photos and videos from my smartphone, add all my favorite voicemails for good measure. Then everything would be together neatly in one place and my legacy must be safe…But is it?

Most of us use an online filing system like Dropbox, One Drive, AWS. All of these are considered to be top, reliable file hosting services. While they may seem like the ideal option, there are many problems, notably — they all fail to meet long term commitment. Being services that charge with a subscription, that subscription ends when you do, or when they do.

What most people don’t realize is that each time as we move from Mac to Microsoft or find a better subscription, and our files are copied and transferred from one platform to another (there is not enough time in the world to describe the painfulness of this), a little bit of rot is introduced to the file. That’s right. Each time a file is moved, it suffers a tiny bit more data rot. Like an insidious cancer, over time this means memories will disappear and stories will die.

When it comes to keeping a memory alive long after someone is gone, I personally think the best solution is a time capsule. And no, not the hokey time capsules you buried in your middle school football field which are definitely not the most ideal version of keeping memories alive. I am talking about modern day time capsule technology which combines both longevity and convenience. Programs like NotForgotten offer customers the option to store their data in a digital vault for over 300 years Their protocols ensure data doesn’t rot, they are recorded on the blockchain, and there is a preservation trust caring for the files long after we have all left this mortal coil. That is what makes time capsules stand out compared to everything else…their ability to pass your memory on for generations, subscription free.

This way my great great grandchildren can now meet the me I made for them…… all 50 000 photos, posts and videos carefully curated by me throughout my life. But am I to believe my poor descendants really want to trawl through all of this? This blog started out by saying you most likely have too many items on your phone to keep track of, so how do you pick the ones that are worthy enough to be preserved in a time capsule? I would start by going over major events like holidays, birthdays, weddings, etc. Think about what your descendants will really want to see — which ones represent the essence and feeling of the event, which show all the Technicolor and optimism without being overwhelming to the recipient of the time capsule. From there it is important to just pick what you believe is an accurate representation of you and the best version of yourself. Anything that shows your talent, your voice, important messages and stories are all worth keeping.

The act of preservation is such a gift. Having the power to pass along not only our legacies, but the wisdom that comes with it is a privilege we should have available for anyone willing. That is why it is important to have a plan for where your memories go and how they should be distributed. I hope after reading this blog you are more aware of what route you should take and why!



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