Weblogs and collective memory

I've been reading a very interesting book: Avishai Margalit, The Ethics of Memory. Professor Margalit explores communal, collective memory, and our individual obligations about remembering people and events.

This is a generative book, thought-provoking and rich in insight. The following excerpt (pp. 51-52) made me think about how weblogs and wikis (and other distributed, digital information repositories) function, or might function as part of an infrastructure of memory.

A shared memory ... is not a simple aggregate of individual memories. It requires communication. A shared memory integrates and calibrates the different perspectives of those who remember the episode -- for example, the memory of the people who were in the square, each experiencing only a fragment of what happened from their unique angle on events -- into one version. Other people in the community who were not there at the time may then be plugged into the experience of those who were in the square, through channels of description rather than by direct experience. Shared memory is built on a division of mnemonic labor.

Maintaining an infrastructure of communal memories includes building monuments and establishing celebrations. Perhaps weblogs, and the associated cross references, help create, and carry, the stories and histories (written and oral) that inform our memories. I wonder.

Recent Entries