It has the all the makings of an epic adventure: travel the 50 states to interview individuals born before 1940 and create an oral (and digital) history of the world before laptops, the web, wi-fi, smart phones and tablets. All it needs is a little kickstart.
Veronica Kirin, entrepreneur and web designer, is the creator of the Untold Stories of the Silent Generation
Kickstarter campaign, which launched on August 20. With a goal of $5,000, the money raised will help fund Kirin on her travels throughout the United States.
Kirin, who has an anthropology degree, will interview, photograph and record the volunteer participants in the program. Each interview will feature a series of fourteen standard questions designed to explore a perspective about life before and after the technology revolution. It's a perspective that is rapidly vanishing as the "silent generation" ages. As Kirin collects the data, the content is made available on her website
. Once the project is completed, the interviews will be a part of book to published in 2016.
Kirin says she was inspired by a NPR show that stated many children today don't know the meaning of a telephone pole. To date, Kirin has already interviewed over 30 individuals in five states. She says that, so far, every interview is different but one common denominator is how these individuals feel that interpersonal communication has changed. "Many of the people I interviewed are a little worried about the loss of communication skills," she says.
From a personal perspective, Kirin says the project has been transformational especially as it relates to her own choices: "Relying on instant messaging and texting, I've realized how far I have separated from friends." She says she now spends more time meeting in person or having long phone conversations.
Kirin also wants to encourage families of the interviewees to be aware of the history as she welcomes requests for the materials collected so they can be shared with preceding generations.
The project relies on nominations for interviewees, which are currently being accepted on the website. Participants must be over the age of 75 and willing to be interviewed in person. Interview questions and the oral release form are displayed on the website.
To learn more about the Kickstarter campaign, which ends September 19, you can visit the site here.
Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor