In the article, Sarah Kessler wrote about the entrepreneurial potential of the past, focusing on how social media has shifted from a recent communications technology phenomenon to an ubiquitous and ever-present chronicle of our lives. She writes...
“What are you doing right now?” Facebook asked its users in 2007.
The social network, and its peers, have since become less dedicated to the present moment. Facebook has created Timeline, a historic presentation of daily posts. Foursquare has turned its vault of real-time check-ins into a valuable recommendation engine. And Twitter recently launched a feature that allows users to download their tweet archives. For the first time, social media platforms are looking back.
By facilitating constant, real-time conversation, these platforms inevitably created a detailed log of the past. As a habit of sharing and an emerging quantified-self movement merge, the potential to recycle our real-time content grows.
The next big thing, some entrepreneurs believe, will leverage not “right now,” but “then.”
|Believe it or not, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter,|
and even Foursquare are old enough to have a history.
On several occasions, I have blogged about how companies have used nostalgia to market new and existing products to consumers, and about how archivists can leverage social media for community outreach. There is a clear demand for information about the past, and I believe that the people best positioned to deliver that information to customers are those of us who work in the fields of library and information sciences and in public history.
Combining our knowledge and skills in these areas with a healthy curiosity about the tools and techniques used in the 21st century marketplace will position information professionals to best serve the public.
What are you doing to leverage the past? Please feel free to comment on this trend. I'd love to hear your stories.
Gordon Belt is the Director of Public Services for the Tennessee State Library & Archives, and past president of the Society of Tennessee Archivists. On The Posterity Project, Gordon blogs about archives, local history, genealogy, and social media advocacy for archives and cultural heritage organizations. His ongoing research project, John Sevier: Tennessee's First Hero, examines the life of Tennessee's first governor, John Sevier, through the lens of history and memory.