When you think about history, you probably think about sepia-toned photos of hardy pioneers. Or maybe you think of generals or presidents; stalwart pillars of civilization who are enshrined in textbooks and the names of streets. What you may not think of is pictures of you. But you are a historical figure. Or, at least, you will be.

Once upon a time, archives relied on the contents of grandma’s attic finding their way to us. Photo albums, scrap books, diaries and greeting cards would tell the stories of generations who had gone ahead of us. Now all these things live in the cloud. That feels permanent, but it isn’t. Storage services come and go and social media companies rise and fall. When digital cameras and home computers became commonplace in the 1990s, a new age of “born digital” documents began. People stopped making scrapbooks because they weren’t developing prints from film anymore. Diaries became blogs and then posts. The history of everyday people, and everyday life, no longer left behind materials that could be cared for and kept for future generations.

As an archivist, I care about future generations as much as I care about past generations, and I have some ideas for how we can help them to know us. Here are some simple things you can do to preserve your own history: