Thought-provoking, lovely post, Dave. Thank you.
I have struggled these past few months with some of the questions you raise here about our digital identities, so much so, in fact, that I pop onto Twitter from time to time, and post photos to Flickr (almost never of my family), but no longer blog. I want to live intensely in my senses in my head and heart without cluttering up the air with so much stuff, so much ephemera.
I have lost dear ones. I never Google them. I choose to remember them through our shared experiences, through the fragments of artifacts they have left, until for whatever reason, they slip away. That seems right to me. The rhythms of the generations, the slim echoes of family traits and shards of stories of who they were finally fading into the earth. How strange to have everything here, recorded, to WATCH.
As a child (yes, I suppose I was strange) I collected old photographs of people and spectacles and vintage clothes as bits of people’s lives, but lives unknown to me. I loved imagining their stories without being yoked to fact. I have a huge box of photos from my mother’s family–I have no idea who half those people are. But that’s kind of wonderful in my book. I like the thought of the thread of identity weaving itself through time, but then it is released, or at least it fades or is loosened from the tethers of circumstance.