What do your social media memories say about you?
Do you remember what you were doing and saying a year ago today? Two years ago? Three? Four? The chances are that, unless today is notable for some reason, you can’t quite put your finger on the detail. Social media changes this – our updates are there to remind us of our past in revealing detail.
When we remember our past we don’t typically remember the finer detail of what we did – we don’t recall exactly what we said, did, saw or thought. In fact we remember big events and broad experiences rather than this detail; after the event it’s just not needed.
This is challenged by social media. There we find the finer detail of exactly what we were doing, saying, thinking or seeing on any given day in the past. And the experience can be quite unnerving. The app Timehop is a quick and easy way to relive these unnerving memories for yourself. Every day it will present you with what your past contained on that day. And every day you will find yourself reminded of something you’d forgotten, confused by what you meant, or maybe embarrassed by something you said or a photo you shared.
When we write Tweets, share photos or tag friend in a Facebook status we are not thinking that this content will be there forever. We are sharing something that we think will be interesting or relevant in the moment. We are not thinking about recording out thoughts for posterity; but that is exactly what we are doing. And whilst we might not be using these old statuses, they are there for others to see, read and data-mine.
Our relationship with social media will change as we become more aware of what we have said previously. The more we read our past statuses, the more we are confused about why we said something and the more we are embarrassed by a status or photo from a few years ago. We will begin to adapt what we say, amend who we share things with and go back and prune our profiles to remove things we no longer want people to see.
Social media is challenging what and how we remember events. And the more we are reminded of what we have shared in the past, the more we will adapt our use of social media.