Slate has a great article on the Kindle, which I love, but a few lines in the article made me stop and think.
The Kindle 2 signals that after a happy, 550-year union, reading and printing are getting separated. It tells us that printed books, the most important artifacts of human civilization, are going to join newspapers and magazines on the road to obsolescence.
Almost everything we know about history is from things people wrote down. Cave paintings, clay tablets, papyrus scrolls, hand copied books and lately printed books.
Will the ephemeral nature of electronic text prevent the future from learning about us?
I’m gonna go out on a limb and say no.
If there’s one think we’ve learned lately, it’s that the Internet is forever. Constantly expanding storage capacity means there’s no reason to delete anything so it hangs around forever. If anything, future historians will have to wade through billions of Myspace and Facebook pages, Millions of blogs and who knows how many forum postings in their quest to figure out what the hell we were thinking.
They’ll be inundated with the minutia of everyday life in the early 21st century.
I kinda feel sorry for them.