Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Internet Never Forgets

My senior year at NYU was probably my favorite school year ever (although I faintly recall kindergarten to have been quite pleasant and 6th grade wasn't all that bad as well). While nothing resembling outrageous Rothian standards, between all my AP credits and my early core class heavy schedule, by the end of junior year I had completed all my essential requirements for my Communications major, leaving me with an already light senior year schedule that I had to fill with wacky, superfluous electives. I went to school a maximum three days a week (I got it down to two by the spring semester) and when I happened to be there I was either taking guitar lessons or developing film or workshopping poetry. It was sort of like a year long day camp...that cost about $30,000. By the end, all my frivolous class taking even gave me enough credits for an unexpected minor in creative writing.

One of my light elective classes was a digital art class where we learned basic level Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and had some lectures about art and composition. Aside from all the neat posters we got to make and print out on the fancy giant printer, the rudimentary Photoshop skills I learned are still used by me today (sadly, as a communications major, this was probably the only piece of useful, substantive education I received during my whole 4 years there). One of the ongoing assignments during the semester was for everyone in class to create and maintain a simple photo blog on Blogger that they would have to update with one interesting image every week. We all dutifully maintained our little blogs (mine was called "Amazing Victor's Blogosphere") and when the semester ended we all just abandoned them, to lie fallow and forgotten on the endless plains of the Internet.

This would be the case for almost the next three years or so until I recently found some of my old digital assignments while sorting around the files of my old college laptop. It was then that I wondered if my temporary little site still existed. I put the name in on google and, lo and behold, there it was, a mass of 1s and 0s frozen in time, perfectly preserved since September of 2006, waiting for the next update. I had also forgotten that after I submitted my final picture, I had randomly uploaded two other entries: some random shots of me unkempt and unemployed post college (my how things have...remained exactly the same) and some shots from a College Bowl meeting that stands as probably the only known photographic documentation of an actual NYU College Bowl meeting.

This blast of digital nostalgia also helped me gain some perspective on just how unfathomably vast and full of crap the interest is. There's an entire world of users out there leaving random web footprints that'll out last the Pyramids. Every fleeting web page, bog, social network profile, web board comment, etc., no matter how inconsequential is probably preserved in the infinite folds of the web. You wouldn't believe the number of immacuately preserved websites for forgotten movies of the past still exist (looking to download some sweet desktop backgrounds or AIM icons from the movie "Paycheck"? I know I am!). It's an interesting thought that your "LOL" comment on the Star Wars Kid Youtube video from 2004 will likely be around far after you've disappeared. The ancient Greeks would be so pissed that immortality in the 21st century is a few clicks away; they had to spend all their lives chipping away on marble slabs, creating sculptures and shit.

I have to admit, however, there are even some limits to the internet. I'm pretty sure my geocities webpage from 1997 consisting of an all cap "Welcome to Victor's Home Page" greeting, lime greenback background, a picture of Mr. T and a free web counter is lost forever.

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