Fireworks and Fizzle

fireworks2July 4th skies were alight with fireworks, and the country celebrated Independence Day. After the flash there was not much left behind but fizzle on millions of phone screens. On the ground,  the sanitation crews were left to clean up the burnt cardboard housing from the after-flares.

The morning news reported that some governors miraculously found a way to sign state budgets and thereby rescued thousands of employees from the brink of a summer without pay. All of this was done behind closed doors and hurriedly, at the 13th hour, so as to “make the deal” in time for the new budget year.

What seems like a long, long time ago there was a process, a paper trail of sorts, and there was an order to ensure government transparency. But now it is all flash and showmanship; taunt and glitter. Our president claims to go directly to the people with twitter, but it is no more direct than any other media platform — staged and sloppy all at once — so as to cut out the process of organized thinking and action.

I wonder, however, if the president, and others who use social media, understand that all those finger taps are records, too. The flash and fizzle recorded as photographs on our phones are records that can be called into court, or at least captured by the systems in place.

Records come in so many forms now, and the growing need for archivists cannot possibly keep up with the avalanche of records creators now populating the media platforms.


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