Avoiding Extinction in a Digital Dark Age

August 11, 2010 · Posted in Conference, Event · Comment 

avoiding extinctionI’m excited that my panel submission has been accepted to the voting stage of the SXSW Interactive festival, happening March 11 – 15, 2011 in Austin, Texas. More than 2,400 proposals have been submitted for consideration. Please vote for my session from August 9 to 27 to help it through to the next round of consideration. And, if you feel so inclined, please leave a comment on my session’s Panel Picker page, as this may encourage others unfamiliar with me or my work to vote for my proposal.

Avoiding Extinction in a Digital Dark Age evolved through speaking sessions that I’ve been doing over that the last year. It is particularly relevant to content creators and people who put so much of their work online. (Here’s Wikipedia about the possibility of a digital dark age.)

Avoiding Extinction in a Digital Dark Age

Here’s the session description:

Many think that the web is forever and our personal stories, work and files will live on stored on hard drives and online. Driven by low cost storage, easy distribution and social networks we’ve put our lives online at an amazing pace and converted analog to digital. But, are we inadvertently creating a digital dark age?

In the last 15-years, online photo and video sites, blogs, email and hard drives full of files have replaced the previous generation’s analog heirlooms.

Looking at an old family album from 1910, you’ll be able to view the photos today. Will your descendants be able to see your digital pictures 100 years from now?

The web is actually a fragile place where your digital life’s work and can disappear without warning. Stored data can suffer from digital obsolescence and become unusable.

To prevent the loss of historically significant records and collections, library and archival organizations have been working on digital preservation issues for years.

You may not be a person destined for the history books, but, to your family, friends, colleagues and descendants, your stories and work are just as important, and possibly even more relevant.

This session will look at what each of us can do today to preserve and pass on our digital legacy, how to determine what to save, what steps have happened at the institutional level and determine how they can be adapted for individuals.

If you are a prolific digital creator, this is a must attend session.

Five Questions Answered

  1. Why won’t my digital content be safe forever on the Internet?
  2. Isn’t the Internet Archive keeping everything?
  3. Why is the archive of files on my hard drive/CD/DVDs at risk?
  4. My data is insignificant. Why would anyone care about it in the future?
  5. How do I ensure that my important digital files survive me?

SXSW Voting

panel_pie_2011_0Here’s how the voting works:

  • 30% Community Voting (that’s YOU); 30% SXSW Staff Picks; 40% SXSW Advisory Board Picks
  • Voting runs from August 9 to 27, 2010
  • First 200 sessions are announced September 20, with more following on November 8

To vote:

  • Before Friday, August 27, 2010 go to PanelPicker.sxsw.com a
  • click “Sign In” at the top right of the page
  • If you have never registered on SXSW.com before, click “create a new account” and fill out the simple form
  • Once you are logged into the PanelPicker, you can click here to get to my session, or navigate alphabetically to Avoiding Extinction in a Digital Age to vote.

Thank you for your support. See you at SXSW Interactive 2011!

SXSW 2010: Panel Voting

August 17, 2009 · Posted in Event, Speaking · Comment 

Cross posted from adelemcalear.com

sxsw-ia-logoI’m pleased to announce that my panel submission for SXSW interactive 2010 has passed the first stage and is open for voting in the PanelPicker. You’ll need sign in to SXSW or create an account to vote, but it only takes a moment.

Posts Mortem: Death and Digital Legacy

If you passed away today, how would your online friends find out? Should logins and passwords be in your will? Has technology changed mourning? Will your digital media stay online forever? Our lives are lived and documented online, it’s time to talk about the implications of death and digital legacy.

Some of the questions that the panel will seek to discuss are:

  1. If you passed away, how would your online friends be notified?
  2. Should logins and passwords be included in your will?
  3. Would you want your digital presence to remain online forever?
  4. What the policies of the major social networks for profile access by the family of the deceased?
  5. What are the repercussions of the phenomenon of the suicide note as Facebook status?
  6. How has the Internet changed how people come together to mourn?
  7. Will pre-programmed updates from friends who have passed give them digital immortality?
  8. How have recent celebrity deaths brought digital mourning to the mainstream?
  9. If digital profiles truly have inherent value and equity, can they be bequeathed?
  10. What societal shifts will be required to handle ownership of our online footprints?

In the coming weeks I’ll be addressing some of these questions and seeking feedback. I want to know your personal experience and thoughts on these questions. Have I missed something that you’d like to see discussed? Then, please let me know in the comments.

My thanks to the ever-clever Ike Pigott for coining “posts mortem” and allowing me to use it in my title. My thanks also to all of those who’ve had conversations with me about different aspects of this topic. Your perspectives enrich the discussion.

Panel voting ends on September 4th. I appreciate your support and thank you for your vote.


Some of my colleagues at Technically Women have also submitted panels to SXSW Interactive, outlined in today’s post. Please consider voting for theirs as well:

Maggie Fox
Scaling Social Media: Getting Credible Content to Mass Audiences
News 2.0 – How Old Media Companies Are Inventing New Models

Rachel Happe
Building Social Strategies at Fortune 100 Companies

Jennifer Leggio
Inherent Dangers of Real-Time Social Networking
How (Not) to Get Banned on Social Networks!

Shireen Mitchell
Is There A Technological Fix for Human Behavior?
Social Media Women of Color

And I’m certain that many more of my colleagues and friends on Twitter are on the SXSW PanelPicker. Please feel free to add your session link in the comments.