Facebook Timeline – is the current me happy with the older me?

“I can’t believe how much work it is to clean up my Facebook posts before my Timeline gets turned on and I only have 7 days to do it” a colleague explained the other day in a meeting.

Not a regular FaceBook user, I asked my colleague what she was talking about.

“The 2004 Sally on Facebook didn’t know what she entered into Facebook would make the 2011 Sally really mad” she shared.  “The really miserable part is that not only do I have to delete the photos and comments that I put in when I was in college in 2004, but I also have to delete from my timeline all the crazy things my friends put in.”

I couldn’t help laughing as she’d just eloquently put into words what I have tried to get across to my son and the twenty something entrepreneurs I work with.  Maybe I need to start doing guided meditation with these heavy Facebook users to first think about what they are likely to be doing in ten years.  Then have them reflect on what their future self might think of their current spur of the moment entry.

As I was sharing this with my daughter, Elizabeth, she remembered a Calvin and Hobbes comic strip that captured a similar idea.

The complete sequence of the immortal philosophy of Calvin and Hobbes for their time machine process of dealing with the challenge of generating content was nicely pulled together by Stephen Coley.

One of the challenges of the many “digital droppings” we leave everyday is how much good or ill are they doing for my future self.  This challenge is similar to what we face in terms of our relationship with nature and how our actions today will affect the environment some time in the future.

As we think about “content in context”, one of the key forms of context is how this content will evolve in future years.  Stated another way, what is the time dimension of a piece of content.  Does it only have immediacy or is it likely to last?  Will it age well like a fine wine? When will it turn to vinegar?

In the business world, this time dimension of context is what is behind records management and records management policies.  It is also the problem that is at the bottom of electronic discovery in litigation – will this content that I keep help me or hurt me if we ever get involved in litigation?

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had instant content aging simulation software like we now have instant face aging photo software?

This entry was posted in Ask and Tell, Content with Context, social networking. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Facebook Timeline – is the current me happy with the older me?

  1. Eric says:

    This reminds me of the RSA Animate video on “The Secret Powers of Time” with Philip Zimbardo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8aqkW2RhHw) and how our individual perspectives on time influence how we act — and therefore what we post on Facebook.

  2. swaltersky says:

    Great addition. I love the RSA Animate videos and just discovered that you can purchase a PDF of the end drawing for a very reasonable price. Thanks for the pointer.

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