Are all your favourite photos sitting on your favourite device? Big mistake. Huge.

We have never documented our lives so much. And our memories have never been so vulnerable.

If all your favourite photos are sitting on all your favourite devices, they’re as good as lost. Yes, one of the world’s smartest tech people is warning that a decade’s worth of memories is in danger of falling into a “digital black hole”.

As of January this year, Facebook had more than 1.393 billion active users each month. More than 890 million people log on all over the world every single day.

Read more: New Facebook trend on the way: Post your first ever profile picture.

According to data released by the company in 2012, we had already uploaded 250 billion photos and were adding 350 million more each each day.

That’s one hundred and twenty-seven billion, seven hundred and fifty million new pictures uploaded each year. I’m not sure how many billions of selfies that adds up to annually, but I think the mathematical term is “a fuckload.”

Facebook is our photo album.

Even so, while we might be the most photographed generation in history, one internet pioneer is warning it could all be lost.

In fact, according to vice-president of Google, Vin Cerf, speaking at a conference in San Jose, California, we are at risk of becoming a “forgotten generation, or even a forgotten century”.

According to Cerf our penchant for digital record-keeping, from instagramming our breakfasts to archiving important documents online, could actually be our downfall when it comes to be being remembered by future generations.

“When you think about the quantity of documentation from our daily lives that is captured in digital form, like our interactions by email, people’s tweets, and all of the world wide web, it’s clear that we stand to lose an awful lot of our history,” he said.

“Father of the Internet,” Google president Vincent Serf.

The problem is that just as quickly as we develop new technologies to connect with one another and share our lives online, digital tools also become outdated, and future generations will have no way to access them.


While books printed on paper may be vulnerable to wear and tear, they may actually be more enduring than computer drives.

Read more: “Technology ate my holiday.”

Cerf recommends the development of a system that will not only preserve the digital format but also preserve details of the technology needed to recreate it.

“We don’t want our digital lives to fade away,” he said. “If we don’t find a solution, our 21st century will be an information black hole.”

That’s all very well and good, but what does it mean for us? How do we make sure our precious photographs don’t just disappear into cyber space.

An astronaut sends a selfie from space.

Cerf has an answer for this to:

“If there are pictures that you really, really care about, then creating a physical instance is probably a good idea. Print them out, literally.”

Yes, we post a lot of crap on the internet. But we also use it to record our histories.

Read more: From outer space to cyberspace: These astronaut selfies are out of this world.

So many of our favourite photographs aren’t the ones we plan or print — most of the time they don’t even receive the transient glory of being made a Facebook display picture. But maybe we should take a little more care of them.

Have you ever checked in on your My Space page? Mine is basically a time capsule of life as a whiny teenager in the mid 2000s… Actually, that is probably better lost to the world.

Here are a few of the pictures the Mamamia team couldn’t stand to lose though.

What are your favourite photos?