Friday, January 29, 2016

Timehop Has Changed the Past and Future

     To say that social media has changed day-to-day life has become a cliche but the extent to which it is shaping how we see our past and future may still be understated. Everytime we post on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, we are logging an entry into a digital journal that will linger online for untold years, even if we cease to use it. Timehop is a special app that holds an unprecedented power unique to the 21st century.

    Timehop is an app for smart phones that connects to a variety of social media sites and collects user’s posts and photos from that particular day of history. For instance, if you were to start a Timehop profile today, the app would link to your social media and show you what you shared on this day in history for every applicable year. In a way, Timehop is almost like a time capsule that you open everyday and updates automatically through the years.

   At first, Timehop may just seem like a novelty or fun trick but when used consistently and properly contemplated, it is apparent that Timehop grants a window into the past like nothing else has in history. Sure, there have always been journals and photo albums, but the volume and spontaneous nature of social media posts provides a much more authentic and less staged window to the past. The most miniscule moments in one’s social media history can lead to an intimate perspective on one’s past events and status.
   Timehop’s leverage is that, by and large, people haven’t seriously considered the staying power of social media until recently. In the first decade of the millennium, the internet and social media was still a wild west and, in general, users of social media may not have always considered the long-term effects and consequences of their posts. (For this reason, anyone who was active on social media or blogs at the time may want to run a Google search of themselves to see what is still out there floating around.) Personally, through Timehop I can tell from the tone and structure of my own earliest posts on Facebook and Twitter that I never thought I would see them or they would be relevant to me again.
 It is also interesting to note the synchronicity of dates in one’s history. On any given day, one might have half a dozen or more recollections on their Timehop, stretching back for years and years. While seeing the Christmas celebrations and holidays through the years is one thing, it is equally engaging to see the less scripted recurrences and habits that align more naturally.

  The other side of the coin is that while our social media profiles continue to endure, and we engage with our pasts in this refreshed way, there could be an influence from this new awareness on our present and future. Now when I post something online, I know that, (god willing) I will be seeing it a year from the day and onward into the future. It is impossible to quantify the extent to which this enlightenment may shape what we choose to share or even what we choose to do.

   Social media is still in its infancy and will only evolve and integrate into our lives further in the future. The sooner we recognize and appreciate its full potential and capability, the better equipped we are to master and best benefit from it. Perhaps when today is “five years ago today”, I will look back at this day in Timehop as the day I better came to appreciate how Timehop has changed the past and future.

Posted by Terry Pierson, Programming Technician