Hello there! How are you doing? Did you remember your sunglasses this morning?
I recently installed Timehop on my phone. I kept seeing lots of photos from the past cropping up on Facebook news feeds (and had been tagged in a couple – the horror), so I thought I’d find out what the whole thing was all about.
For those of you who aren’t familiar, Timehop essentially digs through your posts on social media sites from today’s date x number of years ago, and then invites you to share them on social media again today. New content is obviously generated at the beginning of each day, ’cause the date keeps changing. Anyway. These posts can be photos, links, videos, life-changing status updates or even just a common/garden Tweet. Being no stranger to nostalgia I completely understand why people love this app, and sometimes it is very heart-warming to review specific events of our misspent youths, but I think we could all do with having a look at the pros and cons of hopping through time before we commit to it on a daily basis.
In Ancient Times
First of all, Timehop digs stuff out from the dawn of your social media time, which for a lot of us was around 2006/7. As far as nostalgia value goes, it’s a slice of fried gold: seeing the very first words and pictures you tentatively shared on this new-fangled internet thing; the excitement of being able to talk to friends by writing on a virtual wall; your first ever Facebook status! What joy!
On the downside, the start of our social media careers tend not to be our golden eras, do they? When I was eighteen I had BRIGHT YELLOW HAIR, for crying out loud. Not blonde, not ginger, not anything remotely resembling a natural hair colour. YELLOW. I accept that those heady days of unwise bleaching are part of my past, but I would really, really prefer them to STAY in the past.
The Middle Ages
The middle section of our online lives can be very interesting. Let’s say between two and five years ago, our Timehop posts tend to be photos of us in places where we no longer live/work/study, wearing clothes that make us cringe and with friends whom we no longer speak to. Sometimes this can be an excellent thing, prompting us to get back in touch with people whom we’ve long since lost track of. Sometimes, however, it reminds you of difficult times or people who you are eternally glad to see the back of.
For a lot of my age group, it’s also an unwelcome reminder that we are “grown ups” now. (Quotation marks are definitely applicable here.) The Middle Ages of our social media careers mark time spent travelling or at university – or both – and therefore give us a chance to relive a time when life was more about adventure and potential than responsibilities and bills and stuff. I don’t think any of us could hack going back to university now, but sometimes it’s hard to realise that we are a lot older than we think we are.
The Timehops from one year ago are the weirdest, in my opinion. I realise that my memory is about as reliable as a promise from Nick Clegg, but even I can remember what I was doing this time last year. I think.
Having said that, this is a nice time frame to use for looking back and realising how much we’ve achieved. The ancient times and middle ages are too massive to contemplate exactly how much we’ve done since then – we can name the milestones, but mainly we concentrate on how much better our fashion sense is these days – but if we look back over a single, solitary year, we can really pick out the specific moments that acted as turning points or triumphs.
I hope that you have an amazing day. And that you had amazing day on this date several years ago, obviously.