McDaniel College is reading Delete

Well, at least, the class of 2016 is. We were incredibly pleased to learn that the suggested freshmen reading for the incoming class at McDaniel College is Viktor Mayer-Schönberger’s rumination on the role of memory and forgetting in technology, Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age.

As the Class of 2016 blog post announcing this reading program notes:

“Digital memory is never truly forgotten. Unlike faulty human memories that tend to lose the mundane in preference for the rare spectacular event, social networks keep a perpetual record of the everyday. A digital photo of your most unfortunate hairstyle, once posted to Facebook, Google, Twitter, or Tumblr can essentially live forever, replicating itself perfectly in their server farms long after you have forgotten.”

The plan is to read the book and take up these themes throughout the year in various activities. To kick things off, the students have assembled two video trailers:

Nice work!


  1. I agree with the premise that nothing is ever forgotten, and can be searched, copied and replicated out of context forever. However, to do this requires a limited number of information, since humans tend to forget as fast.

    For example, if we design a website for someone, especially a local business, generally the website has to be promoted endlessly. Otherwise, it quickly is forgotten, as Google chases the latest new thing.

    However, the notion of search-ability provides the conundrum, what you want remembered is forgotten, and what you wished you never posted can forever be linked to you. This means people need to TAUGHT how to both handle information they want to post (pictures, texts, emails etc) AND how to deal with it psychologically, when things don’t go as planned (like a pic of someone in their office drunk on the weekend.) The individual has to be taught how to manage their own PR– a future class to be taught in High school someday 🙂

  2. I must say those were rather clever. Too bad it’d not quite that easy to say delete an entire conversation and forget it. Those students did a marvelous job though.


  1. […] This summer, McDaniel College students are reading Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age from Princeton University Press. […]