It occured to me some time ago that modern technology in communication has removed one of the most important ways we connect to those who have gone before us. Correspondence. How many biographies or documentaries have your watched or read that are based heavily on letters written by the subject? I started to realize that most of us don’t write letters any more. We write emails or make telephone calls but almost no one saves correspondence like this like they would a letter. You don’t make backups of your personal email and store them in a old desk somewhere to be discovered by your grandchildren or some biographer or family historian. Even if you did the chances of the backup format or storage medium being incompatible are very high.
Blogging is no different. The chances that this article will survive me are slim. I will fail to renew the domain or just stop caring about updating it and it will be purged at some point. It certainly won’t be around 100 years from now.
What if Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin had emailed each other for years instead of wrote letters? What if they had spoken for hours and hours on the telephone? We would be robbed of the fantastic insights into their minds. Will we know the same infomration about former Presidents like George Bush and Bill Clinton? It seems unlikely to me even though they obvously preserve lots of documents. Too much of their informal communication will probably be lost for the future to know the inside information about their lives and their communication.
It almost makes me want to print out all my emails and preserve them so that some day someone might know my thoughts. Almost.