Quick. What were you doing exactly one year ago today?
I can tell you exactly what I did, in great detail. I went Mission: Guerilla Gardener on my friend’s front porch, leaving her with a surprise collection of leafy plants in green plastic pots. Just 'cause.
Later that afternoon, I attended a prom-themed roller derby party, sporting a ruffled pink dress and new sunglasses (see below) just purchased at the Woodruff Place Flea Market.
The day ended with a spectacular pre-summer thunderstorm.
Much has changed since this photo was taken. A year ago, I still had a car (and those sunglasses.)
I recall all this not because I have a fantastic memory, but because I subscribe to a free service called TimeHop, which sends me daily e-mails reminding me of my activity on social networks like Foursquare, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and now even text messages.
Every morning, a fresh nugget of digital history arrives in my inbox from Timehop, which has tens of thousands of subscribers, showing me what I tweeted about, the pictures I posted, and the places I checked in to.
Then comes that wave of nostalgia. I'm transported back in time. Not to mention the inevitable, "That was a year ago? Wow, a lot/not much has changed."
The interest in digital nostalgia is part of the reason Facebook created Timeline. Now you can easily scroll back in time and add life events and images to specific days in time.
The tiny bits of data we record each day form a kind of digital scrapbook or diary. Seemingly insignificant when we log them, they can accrue value over time, as we become able to review them. Might make me a little more thoughtful about what I'm posting for my future self.
So what will I be doing one year from today? Re-reading this post, probably.
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