One of the more popular apps out right now is Timehop. The service pulls information from your social media channels and phone to give you a snapshot into what you were doing on that date various amounts of years ago. For example, if I open up Timehop right now I would be shown the tweets and Instagram images I posted for the date of September 29 through the years. It would also pull the images I took with my phone on that date as well. It is kind of like Throwback Thursday every day.
It took me some time to warm up to Timehop. I take great pride in keeping a very descriptive journal so I can remember what happened five years ago. How dare an app come on the scene and try to do it for me electronically. Also, what about the millions of people that use Timehop? They never journaled a single day in their lives. Why should they now get the privilege of seeing what they did seven years ago?
But of course the more I thought about it, the more I realized how ridiculous I was being. Timehop and my journals chronicle way different aspects of my past. Timehop does a good job at summing up the big picture and displaying one’s social media habits at the time. My journals on the other hand are all about details, stuff that even my obsessive tweeting self would never post.
Even with that cleared up, I still think the app seems a little too cheap. I wish the information was presented in a more interactive and fun way. I believe that at this point a color change and visual makeover is due. The app is not always 100% accurate either. But I admit, over the months it has grown on me.
I check Timehop on a daily basis for three main reasons.
First, I get a kick out of seeing how dumb I was on social media. It is kind of like listening to your voice on an answering machine or seeing yourself on video. At the time you thought you sounded and looked decent but when listening or watching it in the future you are disgusted with yourself. When I am faced with the tweets I sent back in the day (including just a year ago) I cringe. Many of them are pointless, silly, and a little immature.
Second, it can be a great content gathering idea. I have used Timehop as inspiration for a couple of past blog posts (including this one). I use it to generate creative sparks while at work too. As all the photos I took a year ago while at Coastal show up on a daily basis I can take the good ideas I had and build off of those. It also gives me a friendly reminder on what I have done before so I never completely duplicate anything. Obviously the service also gives you the luxury of sharing your old social media activity on your current platforms.
Lastly, I use Timehop to view the old Facebook posts that people left on my wall 7-8 years ago. Most of the time it is pure comedy. We as a society don’t communicate the same way on Facebook now as we did almost a decade ago. As texting was not as widespread and constant back then, I notice that many people wrote on my Facebook wall to legitimately make plans. Other people just shared random thoughts. I never know who is going to show up either. I have had to literally think long and hard about who certain people were who wrote on my wall simply because it was so long ago and sometimes names have changed.
Timehop isn’t the best app but it isn’t a terrible app. It is also free and very easy to use. If you like to “go retro” occasionally and don’t mind being reminded of how lame you once were on social media, give it a download. Don’t Blink.