Monday, October 21, 2013

Thread Necromancy

To my son Tommy,

There is an annoying but interesting problem of the digital age which is often referred to as "thread necromancy".  People comment in the moment about all types of things.  In the context of the times these comments make sense.  Everyone joins in and a lively discussion ensues and everyone understands the contemporary references and meanings and then the conversation runs its due course and ends.  But nothing in the internet is ever really gone and sure enough a couple months or years later someone will comment, or add more to the conversation, effectively raising this topic or conversation from the dead.

I used to think this was unique to the gaming world and forums but have been seeing this more and more in social media.  Catch all photo albums like the iOS photo album on Facebook, are some of the major culprits.  People comment on the photo album instead of the individual photos sometimes not even commenting about the photos themselves but using the opportunity to talk about something else time specific..  At the time of the original upload, the comments are appropriate and understood in context of the time.  Flash forward a couple months and you upload the next batch of photos to that same catch all photo album.

With the past comments intact and the laziness of me not starting a new album every upload, throw in some people that are technologically challenged but eager to engage and join the conversation, and the results can be quite humorous.  My own iOS photos on my Facebook has about five dozen pictures and span all types of topics from Easter to summer vacation.  If you don't look at the dates of each photo or comment, you might be led to believe that we dyed Easter eggs at OCNJ during our vacation while cutting down bamboo and gardening with your Grandmom Roro until your mom finally could eat some bad hospital food.  The photos in this album define non-sequitur.  It reminds me of going through my high school yearbook and trying to figure out what all those inside jokes and acronyms meant.  What can be done?

I say embrace it and laugh.  Explaining it to everyone might confuse more people, so just roll with it.  I am currently watching (and snickering) as a friend on Facebook gets birthday wishes because a comment thread on a catch-all photo album wished him happy birthday in January and the comment thread has recently been revived.  I thought of joining in and going as far as sending in a cake and candles to his office, but I am not sure if my sense of humor would hit home.

Though I hid the earlier comments on my own iOS album, I half considered un-hiding them and purposefully uploading pictures that diametrically opposed the poster's previous comments.  Halloween would be perfect for this! Someone may have commented "How Beautiful" or "How Cute" and I can add pictures of blood and gore decorations that would make others question the definition of beauty or at least the eye of the beholder/commenter.

For now, I think I will bring thread necromancy to a whole new level and go old school and find one of my old yearbooks and start grilling people as to what they meant by their cryptic signings.  Says right here, next to this unknown acronym they wrote, that they would never forget.  On a side note, hopefully one or two of my letters to you will be timeless and not too dependent on the context of this day and age.  Those words that transcend time and the popularity of present day are those words that are worth reading.  Even if you don't find those timeless words in my writings, or any of the famous authors I try to turn you onto, I know of one Good Book that exemplifies that sentiment.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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