Most of us want to tell at least portions of our own stories. We share our thoughts on our Facebook pages, send Twitter updates, check-in and share experiences via Foursquare. But mostly we don’t take the time or have the opportunity tell the kind of stories that let others know who we are. Or where you went on vacation as a kid. Or how your grandparents met and fell in love.
“Share a piece of your history” is action 132 from We Are What We Do, a global movement to empower ordinary people to change the world. Their latest effort is the amazing and wonderful Historypin. In collaboration with Google, Historypin allows you to upload images from your own life history, tell your own story relating to the image and pin it to Google Maps and Street View. The more that people add their own images and stories, the more that Historypin becomes a community-generated time machine of our collective histories. The short video below explains the concept and hints at what an amazing story collection Historypin could become.
Like other storytelling and collection efforts that have been around for awhile like the non-profit StoryCorps or the YourStory project from the University of Utah, Historypin hopes to collect stories from all types of people across the globe. Unlike many previous efforts the stories are written, uploaded and connected to a specific location by individuals on their own. And they are pinned to specific locations on Google Maps. Anyone can browse the map to find and learn about what others have experienced at that specific location.
Another interesting facet of this project is the seeming lack of curatorial control. Projects like Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project, the Southern Oral History Program and many others are focused on specific geographic regions, cultural histories or specific aspects of human experience. In the case of Historypin, the collective history that will be generated will provide us with a broad cross-section of human experiences from every corner of the globe.
These stories and images could serve to bring us all a little closer together as we recognize in aspects of our own histories in the stories of others. This is an fine example of the potential of how our interconnectedness can create new layers of meaning.