The human attention span is short. Multi-tasking, computers, the Internet, marathon after marathon of Real World / Road Rules, Road World, Real Rules, Gauntlet, challenge, yadda yadda yadda, have made the modern human memory very fickle. In fact, so much so that I’ve forgotten the last sentence I’ve just written. And rather than start a “hoe-down” Ashlee Simpson style, I’ll re-read the first sentence and come back to my point.
Human memory. When I think about how I’m best able to remember things, it’s rarely out without associating it with a picture. You could say I have a photographic memory, as I’m sure a lot of you do as well, but it makes me really treasure those images that are stuck in my head. Places, and dates are linked with indelible images of where I was, who I was with, or what I was doing. And, this, I think is why my blog has been to this point, mostly of images of things, and moments, that fact make order out of the randomness that is human memory, and life as a whole.
But, let’s step back – what makes up a memory? And why do some last longer than others? And how can we value them? I think it’s really quite special when the unexpected happens, whether it’s good or bad, as it creates an option for you to learn about yourself, and how your history (family, life, experience) has taught you to deal with things. “Good” randomness can be termed as “opportunity”. “Bad” randomness can be termed as “crisis”. But, either way, the resultant actions you take often leave those type of indelible marks in your mind, since they seem to provide the catalyst for a series of events that you can’t always predict. It’s often at the point where the understood and tangible goes off the scale into the completely unpredictable that people make the best memories for themselves and others. It’s truly the change between scripted television and “f-it, we’re doing it live“.
The preface of a story often offers some insight into the value of memories. “It was really great when…” usually starts a tale of dealing with the unexpected, and the results that came from that. “It was really bad when…” often speaks of the emotional pain that came from an event, or having to go above and beyond yourself to figure out solutions to problems you’ve never seen before. Overcoming adversity. Rejoicing in success.
But my favorite memories are the collective ones you make by doing things together. With someone else. Somehow that’s always made them the most valuable – the being there, the belonging, the sharing, the working-it through. Because these memories always go beyond you. Out of these type of experiences, everyone takes their own piece of the pie, their own value, and that in itself multiples the value of the memory itself.
So, as so many things in my life now evolve, I think, above all, social media provides an avenue to share these memories that has never really existed before. It provides opportunities to create new collective memories. Barriers go away. Distance disappears, and you’re just left with people. And, I think, this, is what makes social media so important.