3 min read

The importance of modern artifacts

A random shower thought that turned into an alarming realization

February 7, 2022

What are artifacts?

Artifacts are objects made by a human being that are of some cultural or historical interest.

Typically when someone thinks of "Artifacts", they think of ancient artifacts like pottery or golden gem necklaces, but no one talks enough about modern artifacts and how important they truly are... or, rather, how important they become over time.

What are modern artifacts?

Simply put, modern artifacts are anything created today that will be discovered at some point in the future by someone else.

For instance, this article you're reading is a modern digital artifact, and thousands of years ago when an Egyptian craftsman was making a vase, that work of art was a modern physical artifact at that time.

Why are artifacts important?

Artifacts are fragments of your legacy, the mark you leave on those you come in contact with and/or the world.

When you are no longer around to tell your story, your artifacts are the only things left to do this for you, and the picture they paint of you may be unintentionally skewed in one way or another.

This all depends on what you decide to create, or what can still be discovered through the sands of time.

So this leads me to the toughest question around modern artifacts that I feel is not asked enough...

Do you own your artifacts?

Unless you journal in a way that ultimately creates a physical book of your thoughts or you print every picture you take with your phone, it is highly unlikely you own your artifacts.

Chances are you have followed in the footsteps of the increasingly digitized world, creating, and publishing the majority of your thoughts and memories on someone elses' servers hoping they never have to delete it.

If you have ever accidentally deleted a file with no way to recover it, you know how fragile digital artifacts are. The format is simply not material enough to pass information down through generations quite like a physical book or photo album can.

So what should we do?

I suppose we all need to be intentional about the artifacts we create and lean toward making physical ones that can be interacted with and cherished by the real hands of future generations.

Discovering or creating services that connect to social media platforms or other applications to send you a physical copy of what you share is a step in the right direction, and something I'm personally going to look more into.

I feel this should be a new priority for each of us because sharing parts of our lives on the internet is cool and all, but the last thing any of us want is for our legacies to 404 on us 50 years from now when some tech company goes belly up or simply doesn't pay their bills.

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