My Digital Footprint – 100 Years From Now

My hairdresser was running late today, so I passed the time by responding to today’s writing prompt for Lynn Palermo’s February Writing Challenge. I haven’t posted anything in quite a while, and this turned out to be a fun writing exercise, so I’m sharing it with you all!

I took a few liberties (see the prompt below) and maybe got a bit carried away-but who cares? It’s just for fun. Not to mention a pleasant diversion from what I spend most of my time writing. Those of you who know me will recognize some of the details. For those who don’t, go ahead-Google me!

You’re the Ancestor

Imagine it’s a hundred years in the future and an archeologist has somehow discovered the entire contents of your digital life. . Write a scene that reveals what the archeologist learns about you as a result of the digital footprint you left behind. 

“What is it with this one? Dollhouses, genealogy, meal prep kits, travel, writing, snarky Facebook posts, hamsters… man, she’s all over the map- as they used to say!” Phillipe, the newest cataloguer at the Library of Congress, pressed the screen on the tabletop, closing the site, Who’s Who in American Literature.

“You’re nowhere near done,” said his supervisor, Anise. “Make sure you check the Wayback Machine on archive Internet Archive. She may have some old sites hanging around cyberspace.”

Phillipe drew a deep breath and moved to a more comfortable location, an enclosed pod chair. He settled back into the upholstery and switched on the speakers located just above and behind his head. It was bound to be a long night. His newest assignment, known most often by the name Deborah Samuel Holman, seemed to pop up all over the Internet. He voiced her other names aloud, causing the computer screen to pop up from the floor of the pod. “Deb Holman, Debbie Samuel, Deborah S, Holman, Deborah Joan Samuel.” Geez, he thought, how many names does she go by?

He started with Facebook. Three accounts – a personal page, some food thing called What’s for Dinner, a profile for Petite Princess Books, and an association with the Jewish Genealogical Association of Connecticut. Phillipe made cursory examinations of all the Facebook profiles, spending the most time on her personal page. “What a goody-two shoes,” he said aloud. Why do I always get the boring assignments? He almost closed out of Facebook when he saw another profile listed for his subject, Nothing Really Bad Will Happen. Ha! This might be more interesting, he thought, clicking on the link. Instead of some incriminating information about her life, which is what he hoped for, the profile turned out to be an accounting of her progress writing one of her most famous novels. It was about the Holocaust, an awful period in world history. No need to examine that further, he thought. Everyone knows the story. That novel had secured the author her own place in history, the reason he was now cataloging her entire digital presence.

He next visited the YouTube site hosted on the Wayback Machine. In 1997 and 1998, she appeared on TV with her family several times, all on some obscure reality shows. He clicked on what seemed the most interesting, Wild Rescues, a long-defunct TV show on something called cable TV. Her family was saved by a hamster? Phillipe looked at the clock. No time to watch this now. He voiced a message to watch later and heard the ding in his ear, indicating a reminder had been recorded on his calendar. Better check the other shows, he thought. Clicking through,he noted she appeared on some show about miracles hosted by famous singer Melissa Etheridge and something called a “Talk show,” with a man called Maury Povich.

“Did you check that old search engine, um… what was it called… Google?” asked Anise, popping her head into his pod.

“Um… just about to,” he replied, trying to hide his annoyance. I know I’m new, but geez, give me time! He input all the variations of the name he was researching, careful to always add the search term Connecticut to focus the results on his intended subject. 4,970 hits. He was right. It was going to be a long night!

I hope you enjoyed my brief foray into creative writing. Hey, you never know… 100 years from now maybe I will be famous!!!

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