To Post, or Not to Post

For various reasons, I have not actively encouraged people to post lifestories on the Internet. Today I heard a chance remark that sent my thoughts around a corner. As I talked about lifestory writing with a Senior Center program director, she mentioned how much she wishes she had stories about her grandparents, who are all deceased.

“With the Internet, it is so easy to find out facts about people, and who your ancestors were, but there aren’t any stories,” she lamented.

“Wow!” I replied. “You are so right. If people put stories, even general ones, on a website, maybe in forty years one of their descendants would find it after everyone had lost and forgotten about paper copies.”

The idea of thinking forty years or more into the future about something changing as fast as the Internet taxes my imagination, but it’s worth a shot. I would not post anything highly personal, and I wouldn’t post anything with enough specific information (like birth date and place, address, phone number, and so forth) that could make you a target of identity thieves, but posting a few general stories about your life and times could strengthen your place in history. If the website fades into oblivion, you haven’t lost much.

A growing number of websites encourage people to post life stories at no charge. Not surprisingly most are subsidized by the various services they offer to help you collect your stories, lay them out, organize them and publish them. I have no personal experience with any of these fee-based services, but they look like solid places to post stories. In addition to the sites on listed in my Post Your Stories links, I have found several more. I have not explored these in any depth, but they look interesting.
  • Tokoni A new story posting site founded by Skype and eBay executives.
  • Dandelife A place for your multi-media urges. A one-stop shop mash-up of photos, video and blog-type story entries. Most are just story.
  • Our Story Save photos, videos and stories on your own personal timeline.
  • Archive X Submit stories about your paranormal experiences.
  • Story of My Life Sign up for free and post your stories “forever.” There seem to be lots of ways to organize and link your stories to those of family members and others.
I don’t know if any of these sites will last for decades, but it’s fun to have people read your work and comment on it, and I recently learned that this is a great way to flesh out a Writer’s Resume for those who may seek paying publication opportunities.

Write now: pick a site and post one of your favorite stories. See you Out There.


Pat's Place said...

Several years ago I met a volunteer at the front desk of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and she said EVERY DAY someone came by her desk lamenting the fact that he or she would LOVE to have the stories to go along with the genealogical data being gathered! That was one of the big reasons I switched from genealogy to writing the stories of our family history--so that the stories would be preserved!

Ritergal said...

Thanks for the validation Pat. I'm fortunate that many others in the family are "digging up the bones." My challenge is to reconstruct some of the "flesh" with whatever fragments of story I can unearth.

antje said...

hi Sharon, just stumbled across your post and am enjoying reading the wealth of info it contains.

I felt compelled to make a comment that [although we're listed last :(] Story of My Life is the ONLY one of any you mention that actually uses the word "forever" with some meaning. There is a separate 501(c)(3) non-profit Foundation that works to store data for the future. They have built a complex algorithm that factors how much it costs to store 1MB of data for today + 100 years and collects enough money to store them. They are also in talks to partner with (another entity - cannot name under nda just yet) to store them as a back-up should anything happen to any of them. So, they are taking it seriously. Not just "hoping" they get enough funding or make enough money to "maybe" make it in the future.... :)

Thanks again for a great blog with lots of great information in it.