Wednesday, February 24, 2016

53. Shoeboxes

There’s a feature on Facebook called “On this Day” which allows you to see status updates, wall posts, photos and other random Facebook detritus that happened to you on that same day all the way back to 2007. At first I ignored it because I didn’t really care, but I’ve been checking out on a regular basis lately and I’ve got to say that I hate it.

I don’t enjoy seeing my jokes I thought were funny, my out of context song lyric-y status updates, or what I thought was significant, intelligent additions to the online digital conversation. Ninety-five percent of what I thought was brilliant at the time really didn’t age well.

I wonder how we’ll view browsing, perusing, and just getting lost in things in the future. When everything is digitized, who has time to browse? Your Facebook feeds are curated to your preferences and whims, so you don’t have to see anything out of the ordinary ever again. I take part in it, there are certain people I don’t care to see in my profile. It’s just how it is.

I suppose there is still fun stuff in the Reddit community, but there’s still a method to that madness where you don’t need to spend time in places that don’t interest you.

I have a few shoeboxes that I keep under my bed. There full of letters, notes, and random things I’ve put down on paper ever since my high school years. I enjoy digging through them every once in awhile to see what sorts of things that have slipped my mind. There is one letter from a high school friend who I haven’t heard from since graduation that was written on a piece of pink paper that was cut out in a human genome-like way. I don’t think it said anything profound, but I like just having it. There’s a birthday card from a girl who I went to high school, but was not too close with during that time. She gave me one just because we both had January birthdays. There’s a lyric from Neil Young’s “Hey Hey, My My”, “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.” I wrote it on a piece of notebook paper and I taped it to my bathroom mirror my senior year.

I’m not much into junk or knick knacks or 99% of the stuff you get at conferences. Most of it is cheap plastic crap that’s going to get stuck in a drawer and never used again, but I think the personal crap I’ve accumulated is much, much better.

I also like just wandering the streets of places. I don’t necessarily need a destination, but I like just going out and finding where things are and getting a feel for my surroundings. People look at me funny when I say I’m just going to go out and about.

I think the thing that bothers me the most about the “On this Day” feature is that it thinks it’s giving you important things, when it’s really just all the crap you never threw out. And since nothing is ever deleted on the internet, all of that crap sticks around.

I like the stuff sitting in a shoebox under my bed. It’s not perfect, but it’s important, even if I forget about it every once in a while.

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