Here Comes Trouble: Conversation Threading

A single commodity hard disk is fast on its way to being able to store every song ever recorded;* a close examination of how the rapid improvement of storage technology might apply to communication, therefore, is long overdue. Consider email, where the retention of messages enables the threading of conversations by recipient, subject and date. For while recording telephone calls usually means government wiretaps, the merits of a communication archive from an end user’s perspective deserves some consideration.

Few over the age of 25 will like the idea of creating a permanent record of telephone calls and other forms of communication, but the discomfort of mature adults can represent a counter-indicator. Plus, it seems safe to assume that people can distinguish between government (bad) and personal (good) uses of recording technology. Communication archives will require strong privacy tools and a reliable delete function, but an argument against a permanent record is an argument against communication. After all, people avoid email in some contexts, but no one proposes eliminating email archives.

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