This is a draft and a quick sketch of my ideas, some of these thoughts would require some more fine tuning before being developed into a full-fledged project.
My project will be about archiving memories, particularly memories in a virtual space. What really sparked my interest in this was how quickly I realised the social media landscape has changed. Here’s a diagram of social media I found on Google:
I would say that that people my age are lucky enough to be able to have internet access at a relatively young age. I remember being able to access the Internet when I was about 8 years old. I think it’s really important to address this point on generation vs Internet, particularly in the area of social media. For me at least, I feel that I entered this whole virtual sphere at an age when it had helped significantly develop my sense of identity, interests and especially the idea of an online persona even before I really knew what that meant. It’s interesting to note though, before I’ve taken this OSS class, I’ve never truly examined the term ‘virtual’, ‘cyborgs’ or the ‘disembodied’, and even I find it hard sometimes to write about it in my research critiques because I think that to some extent, and for a large part of my life, I’ve been really living the virtual life and living out these concepts that we’re looking at, that I haven’t yet stepped back to take a look at all of this.
I was a huge Internet nerd. I was really big on Neopets.com and the website opened me to the world of html and css. I didn’t have much real-life hobbies then, but I enjoyed making webpages and creating content. I made my first blog with Blogger.com and I used my knowledge of basic html and css to tweak my layout so that I could include every facet of my Internet life – I remember adding the same Flickr photostream on the sidebar of my blog and uploaded pictures of my real life desktop clutter, my dogs, and (very rarely) pictures of myself taken with my webcam. I also bought a domain and explored making more complicated webpages. I loved the idea of having this virtual space for myself and being able to create and add whatever I want to this space.
Back to the social media landscape and what sparked my project: I realised the vast change when I logged into myspace.com a few months ago. It used to be a really popular social media website much like Facebook. The website had changed a lot, and presently, they have removed the blog function. My old profile and photos are still there, although I was more interested to find my old blog. I found a link where I could download a zip file of my blog archive and so I did.
It amazes me then, that I could simply download an archive of these things that I’ve written years ago, and at the same time, it never occurred to me that I could feel such nostalgia in such a technological context. So using the blog archive I’ve downloaded from MySpace, I made an online zine (http://beverleyng.com/internetmonsters) in which I try to encapsulate this nostalgia, by juxtaposing these entries with some artworks I made at that time I wrote the entries (even my artworks then were made on the computer), paired with some screenshots of other virtual things that I was interested in then.
This semester, I decided to take this project further by downloading the archive from my WordPress blog which I’ve been writing in for a long time. As I was downloading it and reworking them for a core module, I drew parallels with the various concepts that we have been discussing in class, as well as with the readings that we’ve done over the weeks. Beyond archiving entries, I am also interested to examine the various persons I’ve been throughout these years, and how these personas had been immortalized by words and kept in virtual space.
I’ve not quite decided yet how to carry out my final project. I might have been a bit lengthy on the basis of this project, though I would like to be very serious about it as I want to carry it further in terms of final year project. But this is what I have so far, do comment below if you have any feedback or suggestions!