Exploring Memory Lane via Social Media

Social Media NostalgiaI’m feeling very nostalgic today and my Facebook page has nothing to do with it…yet. But once I’m in the mood, a walk down memory lane from any direction can make me smile or move me to tears and so I definitely appreciate the value of Timehop, the new online product I first learned of today.

Timehop connects to your Facebook, twitter and other social media accounts and sends you a daily email reminding you of your tweets, status updates, tagged photos and other actions that you took exactly one year ago.

Originally built for social network FourSquare and called 4Square and 7Years Ago, Timehop has recently evolved and started integrating with a number of the most popular social networks. The daily email from Timehop is only visible by users themselves and cannot be seen by their Facebook friends.

Users tell stories of waking up to be reminded that exactly a year ago they first felt a fetus kick, or that they bought a wedding ring. New Year’s resolutions that were shared on Facebook came back to their writers on January 1st to be checked off or renewed. These emails can be a reminder to be thankful for past good fortune or for how far we’ve come. They allow users to compare priorities and create a surprise moment of introspection every morning on sitting down at the computer.

I may sound a bit sentimental to be talking about social media, but I’m not the only one. A Rutgers University media studies professor points out that tools that track our social media use allow us to look at ourselves from the outside and to see the image that we’re giving to others. Now, the “other” includes our future selves.

Setting up your own website or writing an online dating profile are some ways we use the internet to introduce ourselves to a (hopefully) adoring public. Tools like Timehop allow us to use the internet to get to know our past selves.  Like I said, it’s a good day for nostalgia.

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