How do collective archives emerge from the individual digital memories of participants in social networks, facilitated by social software? Networks in northern California are studied and described as “ethereal archives” because they are widely distributed, linked through blogs, microblogs, and other locations in which content is always changing. Digital technology allows preservation of memories, and at the same time broadcast of those memories to the community in many formats, including text, photostreams, video collections and on social networking sites. Over time, events, objects and even people generate folksonomic tagging across platforms, and a shared understanding of the things being described.
These archives become an extension not only of personal, but of collective memory; both individual and community identities are shaped and preserved in collaborative ethereal archives, made up of numerous people’s online collections of text and other media. They are dependent for organization on social connections across the network expressed through links shared via numerous platforms, and studying an ethereal archive’s emrgence reveals that it both reflects and shapes the communities from which it arises.
I’ll be presenting a paper on the above, if I have enough money to get to Louisville for CCCC ’10.