You want an idea to survive hundreds or thousands of years? Step one: Don’t write it on paper. Alexander Konta believed this deeply. Paper yellows and withers and crumbles; it is the printed form of Alzheimer’s.
"Modern social media began as a fetish for real-time connections--what we’re thinking, reading, watching, all of it outdated the second we post. But now that we’ve written our own gigantic diaries, we’ve entered a flashback phase. The Library of Congress is archiving our tweets. Facebook dragged us into Timeline then a Graph Search that turns us and our social past into definitive search results. Twitter promises downloadable tweet archives. Timehop emails users “a time capsule of you” based on whatever junk they posted on social media a year prior. Cue, Recollect, ArchiveSocial, Backupify: short-term history suddenly has value.
"In the scope of long-term history, the effort to systematically archive things is also quite new. In America, the first state archives were set up in Alabama in 1901. The American Historical Association held a “Conference on Archivists” in 1909; it was the first time in American history that self-identified archivists met as a group. “I think that technology played a key role here,” says New York University history professor Peter Wosh. “Historians and early archivists were especially excited about disseminating ‘true’ and ‘authentic’ copies of documentation.”