“Man’s culture depends for its transmission in time upon the permanent record: the building, the monument, the inscribed word.” – Lewis Mumford, Technics and Civilization
This reading was part of this week’s material for my Media and Culture course. Though it is a minor passage and in no way summarizes this particular reading or section, I highlighted it and jotted down a note nonetheless. My thought was this: with the exponential increase in information output and obvious structural changes that have come with our shift to a networked society, how will our generation be defined on the future? This thought had two threads: personal and societal transmission.
First, I’m curious how a networked structure and digital media will allow the passing down of family stories, baby books, photographs and the like. Will these continue to take print form? Will they transform to digital? I can’t imagine that handing your great grandchildren a USB drive of your family’s visual and textual history will have the same emotion tied to it.
Second, my larger question was how our generation will be remembered amidst the overwhelming influx of digital information. With media of the past, the means available restricted who and how many voices of a particular generation were read or heard. Though mass media offered much greater capabilities than known before, the digital revolution has not only exponentially increased reach but has also opened an unlimited number of doors for content creators. Anyone with access is able to publish online. Though I’ve previously wondered how “the classics” and other chosen memorabilia were designated as such, I’m even more curious how profound thoughts of our time will be amplified and preserved amidst the din.