What would Indy think of Facebook?
I always wanted to be Indiana Jones.
In addition to being the quintessential whip-cracking he-man, Indy got to dig up ancient relics and shiny physical memories of glories past.
Archaeology has always had a magical appeal to me. There’s a real romance to it that few other pursuits can match.
It’s undeniably fascinating that the discovery of an Egyptian slave girl’s battered vase can cause the same sort of giddy excitement as a King’s long-forgotten sceptre.
As a child (and, admittedly, still) I tried to imagine what our descendants would say as they dusted off a crumbling Sydney Opera House or a dilapidated Statue of Liberty (I presume it will be slightly more poetic than Charlton Heston’s “Damn! Damn! Damn!”).
What will our legacy be?
What sort of archaeological finds and treasures and will have chins wagging in the year 3000?
What will explorers think when they dig out a copy of Justin Bieber’s autobiography- will it come to represent our culture in the same way Tutankhamun did the pharaohs?
Perhaps Tutankhamun was the Justin Bieber of 1330BC- which, incidentally, would explain the fatal head-wound.
But as photo albums and scrap books make way for Facebook and Twitter, it would seem the way we uncover the past is also changing.
Khaki shorts, thick-bristled brushes and British accents with an African or Middle-Eastern flavour may evolve into youthful office wear, touchscreens and online slang.
Digital artefacts like status updates and tweets will be proudly displayed in museums around the world like precious scraps of papyrus.
Will future Lara Crofts fall prey to “Zuckerberg’s Curse” after hacking into his personal iPad?
In any case, they won’t have to work too hard to paint an accurate picture of the past.
By 2050, the entirety of human interaction may very well be mapped and viewable on a 15cm touch screen.
But that would be a terrible shame.
Without enigma, there is no romance.
If history lacks mystery (and accidental rhyme), it becomes dull and lifeless.
Social media is already ruining the simple pleasure of learning about people purely through spending time with them.
There may be hundreds of thousands of people who have already unwittingly dismissed their soulmate after peeking at their Facebook profile following a chance meeting at a club and discovering a wonky photo or dodgy fan group.
I know I’ve looked up distant relatives on Facebook and decided that tiny snippet of information was enough to sate my curiosity and never visit them.
Details can certainly add excitement, but they quite often crush it too.
The discovery of the Americas, for instance, probably wouldn’t hold the same grandeur today if Christopher Columbus had had access to Twitter.
“OMG talk about a wrong turn! Should’ve checked Google Maps LOL! #thanksnavman.”
Would the demise of Pompeii conjure dramatic scenes of love and chaos if its inhabitants were able to post photos of their cats wearing bow ties minutes before the fatal eruption?
I loved history at school because it was the subject that best allowed me to use my imagination.
What did those soldiers say to each other before leaping from the trenches towards certain death?
Did Alexander the Great cry when he realised it was time to head home?
I truly feel for the poor little saps that have to sit in a classroom in 3015 and memorise all 2,976 Justin Bieber tweets before their final exam.
There really are some things that are best left forgotten.