By Tara Bloom
This time last year I was deep in third year project stress at university. Given the guideline that we could do ‘anything’ there was initially quite a bit of mental flailing. Finally however, I landed on an area of personal interest – memory, what it means to us and how it is changing in the digital age.
Memory maketh the man – we are who we are thanks to our experiences. They’re sometimes comforting, sad, traumatic and always make good anecdotes. We obviously don’t carry all our memories in crystal clear form around in our head, but they’re there, lurking – all they need is a trigger to bring them out.
The old cliches of the smell of fresh cut grass awakening memories of never-ending, hot summer days or a song unleashing a flood of emotions about a long lost love are all true. Sights, sounds, touch, smells are all powerful triggers for the mind.
More and more of these triggers are becoming digitised – Facebook albums, Youtube videos, blogs, libraries of music, the list goes on. A simmering, unorganised mass of triggers, clues andstimuli to wade through. Brains remember all (in theory anyway), they just need the right trigger, the key to unlock a memory. In the digital world, there is no focus to these, no way in except clicking aimlessly through Facebook albums and waiting for whatever memory hits first.