Important Timelines

Excuse the absence the past couple of days. I have been recovering from the culture shock that is that introduction of Facebook Timeline. I have been waiting for Timeline since some time in October when Zuckerburg and the team first announced it. I have always been team Facebook. Even when I opened a google+ account, I did it begrudgingly. But over the past couple of months I have been happy to see Facebook keep its mass public appeal while making additions that seem to be mostly cluttering and superfluous.

But then, several days ago, Timeline went live to all users. And I have never been more excited to log on. I switched immediately and made my new profile public without even thinking of the consequences.

You see, the whole shtick behind Timeline is that it is meant to show your entire life through pictures, interactions with friends, and events. Sounds cool. Isn’t cool.

As I started scrolling through my 2007 and my 2008, I realized that I really didn’t want all 700 something of my closest friends to be able to see all of my triumphs and failures and friend interactions from almost half a decade ago. Now, in winter of 2011, I treat all of my online interaction as if I were on a street corner shouting. I never say anything that I wouldn’t want everyone to know. But back then, I wasn’t thinking about that. I was thinking that Facebook was a gateway that would help me better communicate with my friends. Of course, that was entirely misguided.

The joke on my Facebook news feed as people began to change to Timeline was that we were all about to get a lot closer. But I don’t think my friends will get a better idea of who I am by understanding the person I displayed myself as sophomore year of high school.

From time to time, I talk about sincerity and making meaningful connections with people. I stand by all of that. But I also think that we decide what about ourselves is going to be meaningful. The reason it’s okay that I hid all my Facebook posts from January 2007 to August 2011 is that those posts aren’t necessary information about me. You don’t have to know those things to know me.

I think we often get caught up in our “important” narratives. I have a nasty habit of telling new romantic interests my dating history within the first couple of weeks of dating. I do it because somewhere down the road I decided that my romantic history was an important narrative – that it defined me. But, you know, it really doesn’t. And neither does my Facebook news feed.

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