It’s March 30, 2012. It’s the day that Facebook is forcing everyone to the new Facebook Timeline profile and page design/layout. I’m a big fan of Facebook Timeline. I don’t really have any reason to be, except for the fact that I like to make daily Facebook Timeline pictures based on movies from when I was a kid. But, overall, I think Facebook got it right with this one.
I remember having conversations with some of my friends a few years back, and as we would nerd out on social media and all things Internet, we often wondered what would become of our social media history. You know – all the messages, pictures, status updates, email, shares, recommendations, etc… that we posted on MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter. Yeah. MySpace. It was a few years back. But I digest…
If my friends and family are any indication of current trends, the concept of keeping a written, pen-and-paper diary/journal is pretty much dead. I don’t have any data to back up my theory, but I’m under the impression that fewer people keep daily journals nowadays than they did 10, 20, even 50 years ago. However, because we have social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, we are keeping a daily journal. I mean, it’s a diary…kind of, right? It’s just that our social media journal is not made up of pages and pages of our life stories written in a paper notebook. Rather, our modern day social media diaries are filled with the kind of messages and minutia that fit neatly within a 140-character limit. And even though we are not writing in paper notebooks like we used to, we are publishing much more content on our social media profiles. I bet today we publish more content on a daily basis than was published in the entire history of the human race. We are just doing on websites rather than in books. Sometimes I think that’s a bad thing. And other times I think it’s a good thing.
If you think about the years and years of history you have amassed on Facebook (for me, it’s about 5 years now), it should occur to you that there is a ton of information in your profile. And I’m not talking about data related to privacy concerns. I’m talking about the fact that, if you’re active on Facebook, you are essentially documenting your life on a daily basis. If you ever want to see what you were doing on Christmas Day 2009, you can. That’s pretty cool, right? And it’s all organized and easy to find.
Sometimes I regret not keeping a diary for myself. And sometimes I regret that pretty much everything I think and nearly every place I go is documented on Twitter and Facebook and Foursquare. I wish I had a personal journal or diary. But I don’t. I probably never will. And even if I did, I can’t take it with me when I’m dead. I’d much rather have a Facebook Timeline where anyone can go back and look at my life in digital form. Because the odds are that no one would ever read my diary anyways. And I wouldn’t want them to because I would have written that stuff to be personal to me. And it’s even more likely that my diary would get lost or thrown away. I like the idea that my Facebook Timeline is full of stuff that I felt okay to share publicly.
It’s possible that our Facebook Timelines could be our legacies. Uh oh… Maybe I should go back through my Timeline and make sure I didn’t say anything stupid or offensive. Oh wait. I joined Facebook in my 20’s – I’m pretty sure everything I posted was stupid and offensive. Oh well. There’s a timeline and a place for everything, right?