Facebook Cares About Your Memories: What’s With That?

Facebook Cares About Your Memories: What’s With That?

As part of the general tech company culture of quietly making changes without telling anyone (much in the same way you may quietly dispose of a flatmate’s destroyed grill / blender / girlfriend) Facebook has been pushing their ‘memories’ function with increasing vigour over the last month or so. There was an element of novelty at first. But, logging into Facebook every day to see yet another post of a slightly thinner, less bearded version of ourselves being sick on friends we’re no longer really in touch with makes us feel a bit…odd.

 

What’s at play here? Facebook’s tagline is that it “cares about you” and the feature has now evolved to be “On This Day”. Every day, you’ll see what you were doing, this time last year, or the year before, or the year before that.   

 

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Ah, the flat-dinner-party phase of 3rd year uni. Tux. Plastic cups. No contraception.

Memories will without doubt be used going forward as part of marketing’s Nostalgia Machine to  help sell us products. But that’s nothing new. We’ve all learned to accept that when a service is free, you, are the product.

 

The function will likely work very well. It represents a weird maturing acceptance of Facebook’s user base. It resembles first and foremost that this really us now. This isn’t a phase, it isn’t going to be something we look back on in a decade or so’s time and think “god, we were so narcissistic!”. Our entire social life is utterly dependent on social media to function. We don’t carry photos in wallets, or have pinboards, or keep restaurant receipts or boarding passes anymore. We’ve got posts for that. What’s weirder still is we’ll now allow an algorithm to drive our nostalgia.  That old post from an ex that just popped up now seems so poignant, but did you even recall it happening until Facebook churned it for you?

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Recall that day perfectly…

 

On the one hand it’s just another Facebook function, another notification, another whole new strand of re-churned content to add to your News Feed every morning as people our age take a break from taking pictures of their new house to go back and re-expose us to their gap year. On the other hand, it’s a lot more morbidly fascinating. Are we really going to let a website now steer our perception of what happened in the past?

 

Scary stuff. We’re off to poke our ex. Can you still do that?   

 

 

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