Imagine what all I erased in a click of a button when I deleted my Facebook. I was on it from 2010 to 2020, a decade.
In a click, I deleted every single birthday wish, every single like and comment, every single status update, every single hasty text, every single moment captured in a Facebook post. In a click, I deleted megabytes of history never to be relived. Even cavemen were not as cruel. Though limited in resources, they left something for us.
Imagine what will happen when I delete my LinkedIn, Instagram, and emails. I will delete years of conversations, whether they are matters of deep concern or just life updates. I will delete my own history and stories of my time. And they will be erased from the collective human memory/history forever. I might not delete them today, but I will have to delete them someday. If I died before doing it, my email provider would eventually remove my account due to prolonged inactivity. Every email exchange would simply get erased like it never happened. “What to do with your data after you pass away” is some next level autistry that even the dullest will not like. Everything digital will eventually be deleted.
How then will our descendants know about us? Are we not stealing history from them? When we see ancient carvings and drawings, we do not just see something fun; we see a chapter in human history, no different from ours at a deeper level. We feel the need to preserve what was preserved for us. We feel the need to guide our descendants as our ancestors guide us. When we read letters written 100 years ago, we experience the depth of the human experience and its timelessness. Will our emails be preserved and available like that? Will people in the future ever find a crumpled letter written by someone with shaky hands in 2022 and wonder how he felt when he was writing it? Aren’t we stealing these experiences and ancestral inheritances that our descendants will want from us? Will they not want to know more about us and how we did things in our time? Are we doing justice to them and to ourselves? My ten years of Facebook history are now gone forever, never ever to be experienced again. This may not matter much to me but may matter to people to come. I have shut down a room in the museum of human history. I have ripped out a page from the book of human history. I will rip out many more pages when I delete my Instagram, Linkedin, and my emails.