I watch a lot of History Channel. It lends some perspective.
One of the series they are running is about the Knights Templar. All the legends aside, the one thing that was striking to me is how long some of the stone tablets with their histories and accounts survived, since the 1100’s or so.
The same goes for clay tablets, papyrus, parchment scrolls, sheepskin and even paper. We can read an original book that is thousands of years old.
Then, along comes the Internet and rushes to destroy all things analog. We race to plunk down an entire generation of knowledge into a collection of blogs that have no paper backups anywhere. In a few short years, all our books will be Kindle files. This is good, good, good yell the digital pundits and evangelists!
And sometime in the future, the power grid will go silent.
And we will have approximately 3-7 hours (depending on what Apple does with battery life in the next generation of MacBook) to print and archive an entire generation of knowledge or lose it forever. How many pages of your blog will you be able to save and pass along to the next generation?
Before we dance on the graves of newspapers and books, perhaps we should think a few minutes about what we are giving up and what our legacy of knowledge will be when we can no longer leave a series of links and bookmarks. What knowledge will be lost simply because we didn’t write it down or print it off.
Gotta go now. The flight attendant is motioning to me to shut off my computer. The guy next to me didn’t have to turn off his book. Doesn’t quite seem fair.