In March 2015, Facebook unveiled their native version of the popular Timehop app.
The service allows users to subscribe to a daily notification which creates a digest of all of the statuses and photos they have shared on that date since their profile began.
It is designed to create a sense of nostalgia in the customer and encourage repeat sharing of memories.
Lately though I have been using the Memories function for three interesting things which I doubt the feature team envisaged when they released it.
1. Profile Cleanse
Everyone has posted in anger, frustration or sheer boredom. Those digital markers remain on your profile just waiting to be discovered.
Each day I spend 60 seconds reviewing my past history and deleting everything that is not worth keeping. Occasionally I may miss a post but it is comforting knowing that by 2017 (at the latest) my profile will be cleansed of anything that I would not want my children or a potential employer to see.
This works for images and links as well. If that hilarious YouTube video now has a broken link or the Imgur photo has been removed you can simply remove these things from Facebook.
2. Reminder & Curation Service
If anyone from Pocket is reading this then please incorporate this into your roadmap.
I can now post articles and longreads that I enjoyed to my Facebook account knowing full well they will reappear every year. This reminds me to re-read it or at least pause and reflect on a great piece of writing. The memory may jog a nugget of information or value.
The service works for any hyperlink but is especially suited to those that have readers or players within the Facebook platform directly. I now use Facebook Memories to remind me about great music or podcasts I have listened to, books I have read or Medium articles.
Yesterday I posted a link to an Atlantic article about the intentional downing of the Air Egypt flight leaving New York in 1999 which has haunting parallels with recent events.
I know that this will re-appear in 2016 reminding me not just about the investigative journalism but also about current events from 2015 which have a cultural link.
Daniel Levitin in The Organized Mind talks repeatedly about strengthening neural connections through recall and getting those synapses firing. This is one way of accomplishing that. (Note: It is a fantastic book, right up there with Thinking Fast and Slowby Kahneman)
Facebook can now become a lite-version of GoodReads but for all media content.
The Memories feature is a fantastic way to remind yourself each day just how much you are posting, to whom and why. This is arguably the greatest way to use the functionality because it will affect your social media exposure in the future.
It is quite sobering to see a notification for “On This Day…” followed by 14 status updates. I mean seriously, who needed to share that much in a day?
What event could possibly have occurred, barring a meteor strike, that required me to post a 14-status stream of consciousness? It must be boring for those around me and it must have ultimately been a symptom of how bored I was;
A daily review is enough to remind you that you are not a journalist reporting from the front lines of a fast-moving humanitarian situation. You are simply a person going to work. Most other people are simply people going to work. Occasionally you will have interesting experiences or go on holiday but for the most part your Facebook status updates will be about popular culture which is only relevant that week.
They are, what I would describe as, disposable statuses.
They are disposable because you can take out the pop culture reference and immediately replace it with another reference next week. The sentiment will be the same.
So grab the Facebook notification for “On This Day” and remind yourself to post less or at the very less post more engaging content which will achieve the same outcome.