I started using Facebook in 2009 because of a game called Mafia Wars. I don’t think it still exists today, but I was glad to experience Facebook’s early days in the Philippines because of it.
During that time, Friendster was still the norm, but the tide of change was slowly sweeping to the new era of social media. Seeing how things changed in the past decade also gives perspective on what to expect in the next few years.
Hopefully, many people will realize the danger of social media addiction and its connection to depression, anxiety, manipulation, data privacy, and others.
However, if there is one thing that I still like about Facebook, it is “Memories.” And through the years, I developed a love/hate relationship with it.
I liked how convenient it is to look back on beautiful memories with friends, families, and myself and cringe on what I wrote on my wall a decade ago as a digital time capsule of my life. Anyhow, it only shows how much change a person can have given enough time – hopefully for the better.
So, every time I see my post from 10 years ago, I can’t help but think of the simple times when my only problems were academics or maybe my love life or lack of it.
It takes me back to a different period of my life when I wanted to share everything on social media as if anyone would care—the season of self-absorption and curated facade.
It also allows me to see how friendships last or fade through the years, and you ask yourself, “Oh yeah, I was close with him/her during that time, we’re almost inseparable,” wondering what happened since.
There was also a time when I post on Facebook through Yahoo! and Plurk (if you still know this) about trivial thoughts, but people still engage in it, resulting in tiny hits of dopamine.
I also witnessed the emergence of the early Internet memes from sites like memebase and 9gag, and how it transitioned to the memes we have now.
I sometimes see how I bashed the use of hashtags (#) on Facebook when it was only a “Twitter thing” back then, and the addition of Instagram to the companies owned by Facebook.
I also saw the rise and fall of the Internet vines and Facebook notes. And the rise of content creators like bloggers and vloggers on the site.
There were also tagged and uploaded photos of me with hilarious poses and captions – some of which I’m too ashamed to re-post today. The only exception was a picture of me in 2014 when I was overweight. That photo never fails to remind me to exercise and maintain a healthy waistline.
The next half-decade of the 2010s also included the entry of Gen X and Boomers to the social media arena. It was a time when we almost lost Facebook’s free space because our parents, aunts, and uncles, even grandparents, are liking and commenting on our every post.
But what I love about seeing my old posts is how my mindset, my hobbies, and interests changed and how my values remained and strengthened. These posts are a constant reminder of what I was back then.
Many people may delete cringe-worthy posts from 10 years ago, but I believe they should stay—all the embarrassing photos and posts are all part of our coming-of-age. And I think they are beautiful.
However, I know better from where I stand now and have seen beyond social media’s “harmless side” to its dangers.
The “Memories” feature is great but is also one function devised by Facebook’s attention engineers to ensure that we keep coming back daily to reminisce or “add a memory” to our existing “Facebook time capsule.”
Remember that social media, just like anything else, has its pros and cons, so we need discernment and proper awareness of its limitation and adequate use.
Maybe it is the benefit of foresight that I realize the adverse effects of social media through the recent Netflix documentaries such as The Great Hack (2019) and The Social Dilemma (2020) and why we should use them sparingly and in moderation.
Don’t be too absorbed in living in the digital world and neglect the world we live in. We all need interactions – not just social media interactions but human interactions.