We recently lost a dear family member, and several of us spent time looking through old family photos. Some were taken back in the 1920s — the kind of photos you have to handle with care because the photo paper has become brittle and can easily tear if you’re not careful.
It felt strange to hold physical photos in my hand. Digital photography is the new norm and when someone shows me a photo these days, 99% of the time it’s on a phone.
We sat around and talked about how digital photos are disposable. You take the picture, look at it, then file it away with hundreds of others buried in your phone’s memory and forget about it, if it doesn’t get deleted.
That didn’t happen with film and cameras, we all agreed. Photos were taken on special occasions you wanted to remember and you took time to pose for them. Film was expensive and you only had so much on hand, after all, so you couldn’t be careless. Then there was the anticipation while you waited to get the film processed, to see how the pictures turned out.
Digital photos cost nothing to take and are disposable — indiscriminately snapped and easily forgotten.
But is that really true? It felt like it, before we reminded ourselves that most of the photos we were looking at hadn’t been seen in a very long time. They sat for years in boxes and photo albums that had been collecting dust. They’d been mostly forgotten about, as had many of the people and events depicted in them.
To me, the moral of the story is that technology changes, but human nature doesn’t.
Technology is what we make of it. It has no inherent value. We bring value to it by how we use it.
If we treat a digital photo as disposable, that’s what it will be. If we take time to preserve it by posting it to social media, or even having it developed and framed, it takes on a new meaning.
When creating content for your business — be it printed material, digital material, video or podcasts — take time to think about how memorable it will be. Will people find it worth spending their time and/or money on? Or will it be ignored and forgotten about it?
See my next column for some insights on how to make your content memorable and stand the test of time.