Strolling down the Memory Lane left by social media

Facebook relationship page social mediaThe astute technology columnist can admit when he didn’t know something. Such is the case last week when Digital Trends ran an article from the great Francis Bea about some recent improvements to Facebook’s relationship pages, including their ability to use the Timeline view.

I responded with “What relationship pages?”

I suppose I could blame the Facebook publicity machine, but it’s really just me being stuck to the News Feed and little else. Anyway, finding out about this new feature took me on a trip down Memory Lane, which sometimes needs attention from the road crews. I was able to scroll through my relationship with my wife for the past five years and found out some important facts. For starters, she is much more likely to write on my wall than vice versa. I should work on that.

But our relationship cannot be told by Facebook history alone. December 2 will mark 11 years together. Zuck was still being hazed by seniors…in high school.

We actually met in the original social network: a chat room. Remember those? And yes, chat rooms were social networks, especially if you had a group of regulars that frequented the same room. When a new person showed up in the room, said they were from the city across the bridge from mine, and wasn’t lying when they said 22/f, I sat up and took notice. We met in person a week later, with me not having showered after attending a U2 concert the previous night. She still invited me in. Unfortunately, without FBI credentials I probably cannot access those chat logs. Because I’m not Director of the CIA, they’re not interested.

What I can still access is my old blog on LiveJournal. That was also an early social network, if you’ll recall. You had friends, they followed you and read your inane ramblings. If you could code HTML, you could even post pictures. I hadn’t seen that blog in years, but in there I meticulously chronicled our courtship for friends – both digital and real life – that I haven’t talked to in almost a decade. It was also funny how I self-edited back then. There were no mentions of fights or troubles. As in any relationship, we had our share. None of them were written about in my cringe-worthy mid-college voice. No, I’m not linking it, if only because I’m afraid of getting myself and DT sued by the writers whose voices I stole during those days.

My wife didn’t have a LiveJournal, so the first place where you could see our interactions frozen in carbonite would be on MySpace. Unfortunately, it appears that during one of their reincarnations they lost our accounts. Somehow my mother in law is still available, which is heartening. From what I remember, though, my page was a wholly clean example of what HTML should be, with very little musical accompaniment or weird Flash exhibits. My wife’s, on the other hand, was as if Las Vegas belched in code. Both of us announcing our engagement and wedding would have been nice to see again, though.

Which brings us to our relationship page on Facebook. One thing I’ve never understood about the Timeline project is – to me – it should go in chronological order. I want to see the old stuff first. I know what happened last week. Ours is only active from 2008, when my wife acknowledged that she had married me (three years previous) against her better judgment. Good thing, too. She was two months away from delivering our daughter. I was, of course, an early adopter since I kept my college e-mail address active.

Let’s be honest: no relationship is guaranteed to last. Facebook says that once the relationship ends, so to does the relationship page. But your relationship with yourself continues to be stable (if not accusatory) after a break-up, so if you wanted to go through all of your old posts and pictures to try and figure out what went wrong, Timeline is more than happy to accommodate you. In the wrong order, of course.

If your relationship spanned the decades – as mine thankfully does – and you were digitally active back in the day, you can even dig up older relics. It only took me a simple Google search to find my juvenile writings about a person I was just hoping would sleep with me without being disgusted. Little did I know that person would willfully sign up to perpetually continue that arrangement until death do us part (or Judgment Day, whichever comes first). It is the first thing I am grateful for every morning.

Now, if you never want to see that old stuff again, I wasn’t able to figure out how to delete it. Our trivial, viral new culture is marked by its permanence.

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.

Home Theater

How the headphone jack helps Samsung out-Apple the king

Samsung’s latest flagship phones and wearables unveiled at the Galaxy Unpacked event had plenty of exciting new tech. But one of the most useful features Samsung revealed is also the oldest: The mighty headphone jack.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in March, from Buster Scruggs to Roma

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.

An ode to Cuphead: One of the most lovable games of all time

Revisiting Cuphead on Nintendo Switch is just as memorable as it was on Xbox One nearly two years ago. Cuphead's aesthetic has a magical quality that transports you back to the childhood joy of discovery.
Home Theater

Amazon and Google agree to more support for each other’s streaming services

Amazon and Google have taken a major step toward thawing their relationship: YouTube will be officially supported on all Fire TV devices, and Prime Video will work on all Chromecast and Android TV devices in the coming months.

Age of Empires II thrives 20 years later. Here's what Anthem could learn from it

Age Of Empires II is approaching its 20th birthday. It has a loyal following that has grown over the past five years. New always-online games like Anthem would love to remain relevant for so long, but they have a problem. They're just not…
Smart Home

Alexa may be everywhere, but it’s Google’s Assistant I want in my home. Here’s why

The Amazon Alexa may have the Google Home beat in quantity of skills and compatibility with other products, but does that really matter when Alexa falls flat for day-to-day conversation?

Devil May Cry is Fantastic, but I still want a DmC: Devil May Cry sequel

Capcom's Devil May Cry 5 is one of the best games of 2019 and a welcome return for the series, but its success should not discount just how wonderful Ninja Theory's DmC: Devil May Cry really was.

DMC 5’s greatness is a reminder of all the open world games that wasted my time

Devil May Cry 5 modernizes the stylish action combat while retaining its storied PS2 roots. More so, though, it reminded me that we could sure use more linear, single player games to combat the sea of open world games.

Don't get the hype over Fortnite? Let us change your mind

Fortnite arrived very quietly but after launching Battle Royale mode it became a cultural phenomenon. Today, Fortnite is one of the most content prolific online games and it's starting to change the meta.

Hey Google, why did you kill off Allo, your best messaging app in years?

Allo, Google's messaging app, has shut down. I convinced my closest friends and family to switch to the app two-and-a-half years ago when it debuted, and we've been using it since. With its death, I'm feeling pain and sadness.

Apple’s new iPads are hardly new at all. Don’t waste your money

It has taken Apple four years to get around to updating the iPad Mini line, but the new iPad Mini is virtually identical to its predecessor. It’s joined by a confusing iPad Air with no obvious target audience. Is Apple just trying to sell…
Home Theater

There isn’t a single good reason to buy Apple’s new AirPods

After nearly a three-year wait, Apple has finally announced a new version of its popular true wireless headphones, the AirPods. We had high hopes for vast improvements, but that's not what we got.

The Division 2 offers nothing but a funhouse mirror of America

Tom Clancy's The Division 2 improves on the design shortcomings of the original game in several different ways, but its version of Washington D.C. is completely removed from reality.