In the lead up to celebrating my son’s first birthday last weekend, I have been deliberating over how to handle the mass of accumulated photos, memories, mementos and messages from others – let alone the online messages to him via his Facebook profile and private blog. While online is undoubtably the best way to share photos and videos with friends and family around the world, trying to organise everything into a meaningful archive for him (and us) when he is older is more difficult.
I love the idea of creating a photo book with interleaved stories (Blurb seems to be the best option) – but love the glossiness of an actual print and the ability to pull out a photo when needed.
Wouldn’t it be fun to have selected quirkly little comments on my Facebook photos printed alongside some of his photos in a physical photo album? To print selected Tweets or Facebook status updates which document the time and date he achieved milestones?
When it comes to my own life, I used to write a diary and keep a calendar when I was at high school. I’d have a photo album to go with it for the year, and a box of letters, cards and mementos. Now it’s all so much more complex. My happenings and memory records are now scattered even wider: a gem Facebook status update, a Twitter update documenting an important time and date, text messages, Windows messenger chats, emails, photos, videos, and more.
Life on the internet is geared for right now – and often not for the distant future. It’s incredibly hard to export all your Facebook status updates (Social Safe is working on it). Tweets don’t live forever – unless you back them up.
There has been much focus on online lifestreaming: combining all your activities into one handy timeline is both a useful and scary concept.
Can you imagine a semi-automated service which creates you a physical yearbook rich with photos, comments and memories?
One which grabs your Flickr photos and comments and mashes these up with comments from their copy in Facebook into a physical yearbook, which interleaves in your significant tweets, Facebook status updates, blog entries, a special page with movies posters for the movies you watched that year, a special page with the songs you listened to the most (as per your iTunes or last.fm etc), covers of books you read, and more? Another page at the back could have your Facebook friends’ profile photos frozen in time for you to reminisce over in years to come.
Now, that’d be an incredible app.
(Or, in the meantime, a great business opportunity for people who are too busy to create them themselves.)
First posted here.