So I’m listening to this podcast by Radiolab from July called “David and the Wire.” It’s about this guy, David, who was this sortof down on his luck 20-something dude who one day decided to start recording little snippets of his day on an audio recorder. He’d keep the thing in his pocket, string a mic to his shirt, and whenever something interesting was going on, he’d hit record. He got to where if the recorder broke and he had to order a new one, the days he spent waiting were rough: he couldn’t live without it.
Eventually he found that it was causing more psychological and spiritual harm than good; he decided to start creating actual radio interviews with people in New Orleans after the Katrina hurricane and stopped recording the minutia of his own life. But he still wonders if some of the more significant events in his life, like the great conversation he had with his good friend just before he died, might be remembered differently if he had a recording of it.
The point of this? It occurred to me that one affordance of recording we did not discuss much is the ability to capture things that are very personal to us, like a phone message or a photograph (digital or printed), that serve as an anchor or bridge to that very specific past though which we lived. As we continue to discuss the variety of impacts new media have on our lives, this is the kind of thing we should remember.