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Has Digital Media Changed The Way We Preserve Memories?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCF chapter.

I recently just came back to Orlando from an internship upstate that was so enriching that my close friends and I set out to make scrapbooks to commemorate the experience. I had never scrapbooked before (I know, I’m horrible) and couldn’t wait to get started. 

We stopped by Walmart, Target, and Dollar Tree printing out photos, buying photo albums, frames, post-it notes, stickers, glitter, and more. Later that week, we met up at one of our apartments, sat on the floor with our highlighters and photos, and quite literally, scrapbooked our hearts out for hours. 

And something about holding physical photos, movie theater tickets, business cards, and shopping receipts in my hands made me feel infinitely more grateful than I felt while scrolling through my photo gallery. Having tangible items that reflected the experience made it so much more real. If I wanted to delete a photo, I would have had to tear it up with my hands instead of simply selecting “delete.” This reminded me of all of the cherished photo albums my family kept back home all the pages we’d flip through when we wanted to reminisce. Tapping through my Google Photos just didn’t carry the same weight. Looking through a physical book of valued moments adds much more significance to them because they can’t be so easily erased. 

This made me think about our interactions with digital media—have our Instagram posts and Snapchat story collections become the new photo albums, the curated collections we skim through when we want to reflect? 

I don’t know about you guys, but this thought deeply unsettled me. Flipping through photo albums and scrapbooks is like taking a physical stroll down memory lane, and the best part about it is that you can do it with the people you shared those memories with. I love looking through family albums with my family; I get ambushed by gratitude. 

Scrolling through Instagram posts, alone, with the memories confined to a rectangular screen, holds little to no weight in comparison. Our internship ended about a month ago, and I am so glad my friends and I sat down to scrapbook the experience. Call me paranoid, but I know scrapbooks won’t be deleted by some crazy glitch; I know that I can mindfully reflect on it any time. 

I encourage you all to scrapbook yourself- and if not- then to print out some of your favorite photos and compile them into a photo album. You might be ambushed by gratitude yourself while making your scrapbook! 

Raiya Shaw is an undergraduate student at the University of Central Florida pursuing majors in Sociology and English: Creative Writing. She loves performing slam poetry, solving jigsaw puzzles, and consuming large amounts of coffee.