A TikTok user recently posted a video of his sister-in-law’s bedroom preserved exactly as it was when she was a teen. His text reads: "My sister-in-law's bedroom is a time capsule...
welcome to the year 2000.” Millions of users were caught up in this amazing display of nostalgia. It was like stepping out of a time machine to visit a room much like their own rooms from 20 years past.
To be clear, nothing bad happened to the owner of that particular room. She went away to college, met her current husband, and simply never went back home. As she reports on her own TikTok page, she is currently a “mom of four who drives a minivan.” Her old room remained preserved for years, untouched by her parents until it was clear she would not be returning.
The overwhelming reaction people have had to this video emphasizes the importance of leaving behind digital memories. Heiroom provides a platform where users are able to do exactly that. Most social media platforms are focused on the present. People are posting what they had for dinner, making videos from their cars, and sharing popular memes. While these promote interactions for the moment and may serve as a reminder for the user who posted them–they don’t leave behind much of a lasting impression. They don’t reveal the true scope of that user’s story.
Imagine these users posting a photo of their house or even creating a video tour. In 20 years relatives and friends would be able to catch a glimpse of the home as it was 20 years prior, like the teen’s bedroom mentioned above. They would see home decorating styles of that period, the fashions, furniture, and other mementos captured in time like a virtual trip to the past. This has the possibility of opening up a dialogue between older and younger generations. It’s another way to impart storytelling by adding visuals, sounds, and interaction.
Imagine if smartphones were around in 1985. To be able to have a crystal clear digital tour of a relative’s home narrated by that relative when they were younger would be mind-blowing. Witnessing a home decked out in decor from that particular time period in a way that old photos can’t quite provide is the beauty of virtual storytelling. Heiroom is a way users can provide future generations with a glimpse of how they lived by providing virtual visits that last for years to come.
The possibilities for sharing virtual stories on Heiroom are endless. A user could write a letter to their future self or their future children and save it in their room with the “memory” feature. Journal entries, photos of tickets from events, scans of advertisements showing current prices and popular ads, or newspaper headlines are all ways to leave a key for future generations to open the door of time. It’s a method families can use to visit the world as a user knows it right now–as they are living it. Users can attach voice-over recordings to images in the comment section as well as uploading videos using the “media” feature. Ancestral information can be embedded in this style of virtual storytelling. It’s not as impersonal as doing a Google search, watching a weak dramatization, or viewing an old newsreel. It’s personal. It’s real. It’s relatable. It’s family.