Is This Progress? More Meaning in Our Digital Life

KSA Social Media Coordinator Emmy Hayes  attended the SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas and this is the fourth of her five highlights for each day she attended the convention.

The digital space offering a variety of options beyond human capacity, the shoebox of baseball cards, first love letters and straight A report cards are becoming obsolete.  Our traditional way of collecting memories is going away, so how do we keep them in an online world?

On March 11 I attended a panel called “Is This Progress? More Meaning in Our Digital Life” discussed their own memories and offered insight on how those are affected in a digital world.  Represented on the panel was:  Brian Kraylyevich, VP Design at Amazon, Evan Smith, Editor in Chief of The Texas Tribune, Josh Williams a Production Manager at Facebook, Paul Pugh VP of Creative Software Innovates at frog Design.  These speakers offered a high-level critique of the way our human relationships and physical artifacts are decamping for the cloud, online services that allow you to download a memory anywhere.

Some key takeaways:

  • Users believe opinions, content or insight from a validated and trusted source.  The way we review services, restaurants, etc. online can be “gamed,” according to Evan Smith, so we’re still more open to receiving recommendations from friends we know, rather than a rating system.
  • It’s harder to remember songs and who performed them now that the visual element (album covers) of listening to music is largely obsolete and much of the music comes from digital sources.
  • Like good friends, it’s about quality rather than quantity.  With more content, the ability to differentiate the great from the merely good is lost.  A number of daily news sites are producing so much content that their value may decrease to their online audience.

This panel left me thinking about the shoeboxes in my room full of paper mementos and how right now, my iPhone has replaced them. All of my memories are in the palm of my hand.

–  Emmy Hayes

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