I saw a very interesting tweet the other day. I can’t remember the exact wording of it, and I can’t recall who said it, but the message stuck with me. It went something like: “Your body is the most accurate diary you can keep in your life.” It got me thinking about other things in life that functioned similarly.
There are many things that provide a timeline of our daily lives through their use, and one of these things is social media. Most people think of social media as a way to communicate with other people, but it also documents our thoughts. Anything said on social media lasts forever. Every single complaint, every outburst of drunken arrogance, each foolish attempt to go viral, all of those college pictures never go away.
In fact, the library of congress is actively cataloging and preserving every single tweet.
All Orwellian fears aside, this permanence of spontaneous thought has a lot of interesting consequences. With the power of Twitter, Facebook, and other social sites, we have unmatched access to a perfectly preserved past. While previous generations are able to gloss over mistakes and wax poetic about bygone days, we will be able to go back and relive any point in our lives with almost perfect recall. Not only that, we will be able to weave our individual narrative threads into a cohesive autobiographical tapestry, one that tells the collaborative story of humanity.
I think our social media biography could be used to a wonderful end. The best way to shape a positive future is to be acutely aware of the past, lest we continue to repeat mistakes and fail to learn our lesson.
I hope that we will start to look at our posts and tweets and realize how casually negative we often are. Problems that seem so significant and meaningful while they are happening will almost always be forgotten, but we get into the habit of looking at our own life myopically. Each time we focus our attention on such trivial things means our attention is diverted from more meaningful pursuits. We need to look at our own life with a broader scope of vision.
I hope this catalog of social discourse can help us take the small bumps in the road of life less seriously, and help us focus more on what is really important. When you look back on the entirety of your life, what conversations do you remember? What moments do you want to relive?
Once we discover what is important of our past, it will help us to live more meaningful lives in the future. All the pain and drama of any given moment will be washed away in the sea of days, leaving only meaningful and timeless experiences.
And everybody knows that timeless experiences make for great tweets.
If our bodies are diaries of our choices, then social media is the collective diary of our consciousness.
Mr. David Benson is a social media analyst and coffeephile. He currently lives in New York City and works as an analyst for Mashwork, a social media analytics company.