A hyperlinked memory is a phrase used to describe the process of accessing one's memory through data stored in an external device. It is used to describe the idea of an externalized memory on a device. Vehicles transport the physical self, but now computers transport the mental self and store memories. When one forgets the location of a memory, it can be said to be on the tip of one's tongue. Often, a keyword or other item will trigger that memory later, or allow one to access it. If one forgets the location of an Email or file, one must remember the keyword to enter that will trigger that memory. On a search engine, one triggers a collective brain with keywords. The structure of these databases is not so different from one's own brain. The only difference is that memories are queried outside the brain vs. the inside of the brain.
Anthropologist Micheal Wesch noticed that the social clout of teenagers was related to storytelling. Those that told the best stories that riffed off of the current group topic had the highest clout in the situation. When YouTube became available, he watched teenagers exchange playing videos for each other in place of these stories. The group member with the best hyperlink to an externalized memory or externalized story gained social clout for telling it. . Playing external memories was a new behavior that accomplished an age-old social status play.
- Micheal Wesch. An anthropological introduction to YouTube. Published Jul 26, 2008. Accessed Oct 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPAO-lZ4_hU