Tech, Now + Beyond

Are apps like Timehop ruining the magic of nostalgia?

I mean, can you really forget something if you are reminded of it every year?

I used to be a really sentimental person, don’t judge me. I loved the idea of making memories and having something to look back on. When I was younger, I used to be obsessed with taking photos with my friends. I used to take our old family camera everywhere even though I was and still am not great at taking photos. I’m ashamed to admit that at one point I had an entire wall of my bedroom covered in photos of my friends. It used to really freak my sister out.

I had loads of memory boxes, it used to be cool okay. I kept all my old cinema tickets, bus tickets and any other trinket I could find to make sure I never forgot a good time. It was as though I was terrified of having a good day and nothing to show for it. Even then, I was a teenager with an awareness that eventually I would get old and only have these memories to look back on.

I was a hoarder, I won’t even deny it. By the time I got to College, I had boxes and boxes of useless junk associated with people that I no longer talked to. I realized that I never really looked back at these boxes and when I did it was just depressing. As an almost adult, it wasn’t cool to have a whole bunch of childish things right? So I had a clear out.

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I sifted through all the memories of my careless teenage years and threw away so much crap that once meant so much to me. It was therapeutic and an indication of leaving the young girl who once felt everything so deeply behind. I mean, I’m still me so I condensed everything down to one box but that’s better than like five. I kept all the important, happy memories that I enjoy to look back on. It just didn’t feel healthy anymore to be holding onto the past.

So you can imagine my surprise at the fact that being nostalgic has now been made cool by technology. There are apps like Timehop and the “On this Day” feature on Facebook that lets you see what statuses and pictures you took on this exact day in the past years. I mean can you really forget something if you are reminded of it every year? Surely it stops being a special “wow remember that” moment after the first year.

Personally, I think it is a shame that memories are now being measured in Facebook statuses and Instagram photos, for me it kind of loses the magic of it all. I know I sound ancient. I just wish someone had told me that this would happen back when I posted my teenage Facebook statuses. Seriously none of them bring back heartwarming memories, it is mostly bad grammar and even worse fashion choices. They mostly make me cringe and wonder what I was doing with my life. I guess later generations got the hang of social media and will have more polished pictures and memories to look back on.

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But overall I just don’t think these apps can replace the authenticity of photographs on disposable cameras, handwritten notes, and tangible objects. These are things that I keep and will show my children without having to charge a device to do so