Thursday, December 15, 2011

Path & the Timeline Trend

I recently joined the newest social media platform, Path. It's a self proclaimed "smart journal" for smartphones (iPhone and Android) that allows users to share their daily activities, locations, photos, thoughts, music choices, and even when they are awake or sleeping, with 150 of their closest friends.

Here's what it looks like:

Note that I got 9 hours of sleep last night! Who needs to know that, anyway??

I've only shared my Path with my husband (who knows it all anyway, and is tagged with me in half my posts) and two other good friends. So far there's been little content I actually care about knowing of others or that others would care to know about me.

Is anyone really that interested to know that Cam and I had dinner at Red Lobster last night, after getting an oil change?

It's only been 24 hours, and it's possible I'm just not using it right. Yet, I'm feeling myself becoming increasingly interested in creating my Path.  Not for the purposes of sharing but for capturing my personal journey. I've always wanted to keep a journal, a record of my life to look back on. Sitting down to reflect on my day just isn't something I can commit to. Adding photos means leaving space, printing them and inserting them where they belong. Even as a DIY enthusiast, journalling and scrapbooking is just too much effort for me. Path makes adding thoughts and photos easy! Rather than reflecting on activities or locations after the fact, they can be captured in the moment.

Even if I do capture the small details of my life, like what song I'm listening to, will I ever really look back on it? What's the purpose? Why is it so satisfying to see my 21 "moments" captured on the screen?

Facebook is also moving to a timeline format (introduced here) where "highlights" of past years can be easily accessed in chronological format - coincidence?

I believe people are obsessed with the story of their lives. We have a deep need to feel a sense of purpose, accomplishment and progress - which social media is tapping into by neatly depicting the moments (both significant and utterly insignificant) of our lives in a pretty little timeline.

By publishing these timelines of moments, interactions and life events are they somehow more real, more verifiable? By sharing them with our families, friends, acquaintances and often with strangers, do we feel validated?

Are we capturing and preserving life moments through social media, or at what point are we fabricating moments in life that can be captured and published?

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