Wednesday, December 21, 2005

DigiLife | Emailing your self in the future!

In the Internet age, the modern-day equivalent of 'a time capsule' has emerged.

Traditionally, a 'time capsule' is a stored under the ground or inside a safety deposit box, or so on, and includes information and items relating to the era in which it was created. Newspapers, magazines, personal items, technology items of the day and a variety of other bits and pieces are placed in it to provide whoever opens it with an idea on the way the world was when the capsule was prepared. It could also include messages, letters and warnings for the future.

Anyway, the magic and mystery surrounding this practice is that a time capsule usually has a pre-determined opening date some years, decades or even centuries later.

Back to our present day, a website called is allowing you to open an account which will send you emails in the future, at the date of your choice!

For example, the site shows a publicly-viewable sample of an email prepared by a man called Greg who which has sent it to himself in the year 2009, on the day of 25 April. It says "I am now majoring in computer science and dating a girl called Michelle."

What motivates people to follow Greg's example? Well, a sense of curiosity and nostalgia.

Apparently, there are many people interested in this kind of service. FutureMe is just one of several web sites already offering it.

The operators of these services are urging people to sign-up and hold onto their email addresses that they input, for several years, in order to receive the messages. Naturally, these sites claim to respect user privacy and information security and say that they've already faithfully delivered messages to users who inputted them some years ago.

FutureMe, for example, has been around for four years and has actually delivered messages to thousands of users over the years. It was founded by two college students, one of whom was quoted in a newspaper report to have said, "We want people to think about their future and what their goals and dreams and hopes and fears are."

He also said a large number of the messages do one of two basic things: tell the future person what the past person was doing at the time, and ask the future person if he or she had met the aspirations of the past person.

It's quite an idea, and it's recently attracted some high profile admirers like Forbes and Yahoo who have partnered to offer their own "e-mail time capsule" promotion. Forbes has succeeded in collecting more than 140,000 letters in six weeks. Nearly 20 percent are supposed to reach the sender in 20 years, but others requested shorter time frames.

Apparently, users are attracted to the fact that it makes you stop and think about your life in a way that you usually don't!

Indeed. It makes you think that there's a growing ego-centric attitude associated with the Internet's emergence as your virtual web diary (blogging) and, now, your time capsule.

Whatever will happen next?


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