To know your future, you must know your past,
each stepping stone that has been cast.
Remember the good, as well as the bad,
and feel the emotions of happy and sad.
Background & Solution Development
I believe it's a natural tendency for most people to look to the past in order to gain perspective of one's life and one's future. Family is such a familiar thing that I'm always going back to. My parents came to this country with very little. The only keepsakes they really have of the home they left are the memories they hold in their hearts.
Everything I know about the people that came before me and where they came from has been through oral storytelling. While, this method is effective, it still leaves second generation kids like myself with an incomplete picture of the past. We now live in a time where we have the means to change this. We might not be able to go back in time, but we can document the parts we do have with the technologies that exist in order to create a more holistic story of our family's history.
What I didn't realize previously is that the motivation is already there and I have a number of examples to confirm this behavior. With the social platforms that already exist such as Facebook and Instagram we're already collecting (examples below). For second generation kids the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" is very true and extremely effective in filling in the gaps. It's a matter of creating a space that can house and archive this data that will allow for more meaningful exploration, discovery, and learning.
|After 20 years, the first image I've ever seen of a grandparent (in this case great-grandparent), required traveling across the world to experience. I remember my first thought was "that's where I get those ears!"|
|Just yesterday my cousin who grew up near Boston began posting photos from his childhood. This is the first time I've ever really seen a photo of him as a kid. It's an example of this behavior of wanting to discover and share the past.|
|Photo of my uncle in high school (left) and his son who is a Cambodian-Elsavadorian American (right). This is an example of this desire to want to compare and understand how the people close to relate|
|A comparison my cousin posted of her son as an infant, who is presently 7 years-old, and her sister's newborn (also my niece)|
(The first time I've ever seen my uncle in France was on YouTube. He's pretty legit in the post war movement.)
My next step is to further analyze these behaviors that are happening between family members in order to understand what this online space needs. Here's a list of the most important keywords that is needed and valued by the audience.
+ Collaborative Making
+ Archiving past & present moments
+ Shared Experience
+ Exploration, Discovery, & Learning
+ Visualizing family data
+ Fun & Play
While I believe this system can be expanded to other family types, my focus is on second generation family members of foreign born parents who are technologically literate.
A part of me has developed this concept with my nephews and nieces in mind. I'm sure that at some point down the road, they'll want to look back because we all do. Multiple times. Life is tough as is, my hope is that they don't have to struggle as much in understanding their place in the larger scheme of things.
Notes from Marty
+ Define the audience then focus
+ Brainstorm and define experiences
+ Generate key word list
+ What are the different levels of engagement?