Life caching’s promise of immortality

The smart folks at TRENDWATCHING.COM have come up with a name for a manifestation of the Age of Participation so often described here as the essence of Postmodernism. It’s called “Life caching,” and it’s fairly obvious if you can take a few steps back and look.

Human beings (fueled by a need for self-worth, validation, control, vanity, even immortality) love to collect and store possessions, memories, experiences, in order to create personal histories, mementos of their lives, or just to keep track for practical reasons. And with the experience economy still gaining ground — with consumers more often favoring the intangible over the tangible — collecting, storing and displaying experiences is ready for its big moment.
Life caching, then, is the collecting, storing and displaying one’s entire life, for private use, or for friends, family, even the entire world to peruse. Technology and disruptive innovations are making this possible, and the folks at TRENDWATCHING.COM have identified many. “Thanks to the onslaught of new technologies and tools, from blogging software to memory sticks to high definition camera phones with lots of storage space and other ‘life capturing and storing devices’, an almost biblical flood of ‘personal content’ is being collected, and waiting to be stored to allow for ongoing trips down memory lane.”

Postmoderns (Pomos) reject hierarchical Modernism and its institutions, especially those where authority is granted based on knowledge. They don’t trust institutional “experts,” because they sense an ulterior motive — the furtherance of the institution. And so Pomos rely on their own experiences or those of their “tribe” members, people they trust based on shared beliefs and experiences. Life caching enables the documentation and storage of those experiences, which, I believe, will one day lead to the development of an enormous, experience knowledge base. Experience, as the old saying goes, is the best teacher, and imagine the value of, for example, a health database, where you could search the experiences of anybody who had your malady.

For those of us in the TV news business, life caching has significant ramifications, for isn’t that exactly what we do? Our life cache is that of communities, and perhaps there are business models that could be developed to augment viewers’ own life caching. Privacy issues aside, one day we could be asking relatives for the life cache of crime victims, and wouldn’t such a record be nice in researching politicians?

I congratulate the people at TRENDWATCHING.COM and appreciate the new term. And to their advice, I say, “Amen:”

DO get started with a bit of caching yourself: sign up for a Gmail account, get Nokia’s Lifeblog software, build and share your digital music collection: it’s all in the experience, one that your customers may already be experimenting with.

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