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

Sony’s 360 Reality Audio is the epic sound revolution you didn’t know you needed

After Sony’s utterly bizarre press conference, I almost missed what was perhaps the most impactful sonic experience at the show. Luckily, I went back to Sony’s booth on the last day of the show, only to have my mind blown.
Mobile

Need a date for Valentine's Day? Cozy up with the best dating apps of 2019

Everyone knows online dating can be stressful, time-consuming, and downright awful. Check out our top picks for the best dating apps, so you can streamline the process and find the right date, whatever you're looking for.
Gaming

Feel the love this Valentine’s Day with these 12 romantic video games

In celebration of Valentine's Day, we take a look at games that offer heartfelt romances. From the Mass Effect series to Stardew Valley, each of these romantic video games offers a layered depiction of love and relationships.
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 more 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.
Movies & TV

Can't get enough lightsaber action? Here's how to get your Star Wars fix online

Few of us want to deal with DVDs or Blu-ray discs anymore. Unfortunately, the Star Wars movies are few and far between when it comes to streaming. If you want to watch Star Wars online, check out our guide on where to find the films.
Mobile

AT&T jumps the gun with deliberately misleading 5GE launch

As excitement about 5G networks continues to build, AT&T jumps the gun with a ridiculous and deliberate attempt to deceive the public with 5G Evolution – a speed bump that’s based on improvements to 4G tech.
Features

Netflix’s latest price increase heralds the end of streaming’s golden age

Netflix’s recent price rise is just the latest in a string of signs that streaming’s golden age is nearly over. As more services enter the fray, content will be further partitioned, signaling the end of streaming’s good old days.
Features

Netflix’s rate hike is a good thing. Wait, wait, hear us out

Upset at Netflix for raising its rates? We don't blame you. Nobody likes to pay more for anything -- even if they love that thing. But you really should be thanking the streaming entertainment giant. The hike in prices is a necessary and…
Mobile

Bezel-less phones are terrible for typing on, and it’s only going to get worse

Bezel-less smartphone screens look great, and foldable smartphones are an exciting part of the mobile future; but we don't like where the typing experience is heading because of these two trends.
Gaming

Blizzard's dismal updates to 'Diablo 3' make 'Path of Exile' the better option

'Diablo 3' season 16, the 'Season of Grandeur,' is live. It attempts to shake up the stale meta-game with a minor tweak, but it falls far short of what fans of the franchise want. Better games like 'Path of Exile' are eating Blizzard's…
Wearables

A wearable may save your life, thanks to A.I. and big data. Here’s how

Wearables are morphing from devices that send you smartphone notifications and track your fitness into gadgets that can monitor your health -- and maybe even save your life.
Gaming

'Wargroove' is a delightful tactics game that lets you recruit cute armored pups

Wargroove is a fantastical Advance Wars successor with beautiful pixelated visuals and rewarding grid-based combat. In addition to a meaty campaign, Wargroove has an intuitive map editor that lets you create robust campaigns of your own.
Smart Home

Will everything from lamps to fridges be spying on me? Yes, and I’m creeped out

With the debut of Panasonic’s HomeHawk lamp with built-in video camera, should we be concerned that everything -- from couches to dishwashers -- could soon be spying on us? Here’s why the answer to that question is yes.
Computing

Debunking Dark Mode: Here’s why it won’t improve your laptop’s battery life

Dark Mode is known to improve battery life for certain devices, like a smartphone with an OLED screen. Does that apply to laptops, as well? To find out we tested two laptops, one running Windows and one running MacOS.