Thursday, February 16

decades and half-decades

dearest Jeremiah and I finished the last season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer last month. it felt sort of odd to finish it after so long. seven long seasons of twenty or so 40-minute episodes, set in the familiar, bygone half-decade of 1997-2003. not that long ago. but also half my life ago.

speaking of bygone decades, and along more responsible/academic lines, I have been obsessively skimming old wikipedia versions from 2006, and blogposts from 2006 and 2007 (in the archives of and and listening to these eclectic old podcasts (I'm up to the ones from 2008 now-- it's slow going). did I know podcasts existed back in 2008? no, I did not. 2008 had a lot of stuff in it that I missed.

as I trace LibriVox here and there across the last decade of the internet, I'm finding myself absorbed in miscellaneous newsy pieces about how cool the project is. they still get talked about now, too, but there's less awe about it these days, it seems like. in 2007 there was more awe. in 2008 it was still new and exciting to see what all these volunteers were actually accomplishing. crowdsourced things like this don't seem that amazing anymore, do they? we can blink and a million people have donated $5 each to fund a new game or show or product. a few thousand audiobooks isn't necessarily so special.

the history of all this awe and excitement fading into yeah-okay-old-hat-ness is deeply fascinating to me at the moment. the insatiable, detail-oriented parts of my brain want to chronicle and storify every moment of the development of this project, and all the murmurings and discussions and controversy and publicity surrounding it, too. I find myself idly wondering if I should've studied history instead of writing. if I should wander off and study history instead...

but now that I think on it, studying history doesn't sound as fun as writing history. can you do the later without the former? hmm.

I may end up finding some compromise and incorporating historiography into my dissertation somehow. that might work just fine.

anyway. after we finished Buffy, it was my turn to choose the next show. Sherlock. because dearest Jeremiah had not seen any shred of it at all. but now he has, and we are on the verge of the most recent season. it's all going by much quicker, since there only four seasons of three episodes each--though they are longer mini-series-style episodes and not as easy to squeeze in while you're eating breakfast.


Janeheiress said...

I've been thinking about this lately--we don't generally remember when things about the internet that we take for granted now came to pass. It's kind of sad, really. I remember using a 100 MB zip disk in college, but I don't remember when flash drives became commonplace or when GB became the standard measurement of storage space. I don't remember when Youtube started to be the go-to place for tutorials or vlogs or best-of compilations or fan videos or SNL skits. I don't remember when Wikipedia became my first resource for superficial knowledge of any subject. I don't even remember when ethernet entirely replaced dial up connections, or when Wifi became the standard. I don't even remember when aol and geocities and hotmail became obsolete. Crazy, huh?

amelia chesley said...

yeah-- all that stuff happens so fast, and yet also so gradually. it is hard to notice.
I am not in tune with the field of history enough to know whether anyone is chronicling the internet age in such detail or not. hopefully they are.