What is a metamemory?

The rise of information technology has transformed the way we curate and connect with our photos, videos, and other digital content. We can now access our memories from anywhere, at any time. However, while cloud storage can be a powerful tool for preserving and organizing our memories, it's important to remember that the enjoyment of this content depends on our limited capacity to fully remember the context of the photo, video, or other memory. This is where metamemories help.

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As the meta prefix implies, a metamemory is a memory about a memory. This includes a plethora of enlightening and related information. As a new way of referencing a memory, a metamemory does more than simply add effective memory attributes for effective recall. Metamemories are the entire relationship map of content connectedness making it easier to relate your entire life story. It's helpful to look at these two components individually.

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Metadata Attributes

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Think of any memory as an object, or digital file. This can include a photographic JPEG, a home movie MP4, or a newspaper clipping saved as a searchable PDF.  Interpreting a single photograph begs many contextual questions: When was the photo taken? Where was this photo? Who  are the people in this photo? Sometimes, a digital device will add an accurate date, or possibly a GPS location to a captured digital picture, but this is a minority of the trillions of photos captured by consumers worldwide.

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Metadata makes it easy to search and view your memories.

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A digital file has the ability to embed enduring metadata, essentially data about data. These metadata attributes include Tags to add the names of people appearing in the photo, the Date Taken, and GPS data like Latitude & Longitude. It's arduous to add this structured metadata to digital files, but these attributes are fundamental for better recall of your content. Metadata makes it easy to search and view your memories on timelines, geospatial maps, and facial indexes. Adding metadata attributes to your memories turns them into more enjoyable metamemories.

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Content Connectedness

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A picture says a thousand words. However, even a video cannot accurately describe an old event. Metadata attributes can help, but a metamemory is one that's connected to a web of other content. Sometimes this is a string of videos, arranged sequentially. Perhaps the video is digitally connected to a newspaper article of the event. However, the most powerful connections come from other people who appeared in the video, adding new memories about the memory. Oftentimes, this is an elderly person adding narration to what used to be a silent 8mm home movie. This metamemory is now exponentially more valuable to those related to the event, for life.

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Beth's lost wedding photograph, circa 1960s, found at a flea market in San Francisco, CA.

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Making Metamemories

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It's difficult to remember old stories. Attempting to recall dates, times, and names of people in the memory makes it even harder. However, adding these metadata attributes and increasing content connectedness is critical to better enjoyment of your photos, videos, and other cherished memories. Thankfully, you don't need to do this alone. Working from a private network, you can use the power of distributed cloud computing and artificial intelligence to help curate a metamemory collection.

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Metamemories enrich our lives. They make us feel connected to those around us, even virtually. You owe it to yourself, your friends, and family to curate and connect your memories this way. But beware, precious content should not be curated and connected from free platforms that monetize your data. Place all your memories into a private cloud where you can intimately control the permissions to connect this content with the right people. Then, enjoy a whole new way of enjoying your photos, videos, and other cherished memories, for life.

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Written by Geoff Weber

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