With social media becoming increasingly a part of our daily lives, much of our personal history– our daily woes and moments of euphoria– are scattered across Facebook pages, Tweets, blogs, LinkedIn profiles, and other digital platforms.
The problem with social media is the very nature of its existence. It lives on the cloud. It consumes all our attention when it pops up on our newsfeed or when it is read online. But like a cloud it is also ephemeral and evaporates quickly once the moment passes. Tools like Facebook or Twitter exist in the here-and-now. If we got a stab of nostalgia and wanted to go back through our online lives– it would be cumbersome and difficult.
What’s easy? Having a scrapbook. I kept a journal when I was in my teens and if I ever wanted to relive that night on 28 August 1995, it would be very easy to pick up the notebook and flip to the date. It’s much more of a chore when it comes to wading through the amalgam of online detritus floating around.
Enter the Digital Scrapbook: Memolane.com is a new start-up based in Denmark and San Francisco that herds together all these disparate data points into a symphony of your life. Using the timeline format, Memolane gives you your own interactive, digital scrapbook, a continuous narrative shaped by all the bits of Facebook, Twitter, and other digital activity you engage in. You can become an instant curator of your own life.
Eric Lagier, founder of the service, tells the NY Times: “The Internet tells the story of our lives and it is still unexplored…It is a modern-day scrapbook that writes itself.”
As a search tool, it is unique– letting you track things like where you have eaten or visited– and with just a snap, you are in memory lane.
The Memolane interface lets you plug into your social media accounts and import all that you’ve done and organizes the mess– in clean chronological order– into an archive that would make a librarian weep with jealousy. The timeline moves horizontally on your screen and you can expand it and move through it by clicking on the left-right arrow keys.
So far, it is just a presentation layer of your social media data stored elsewhere, and it is a nice launchpad for narcissists and obsessive compulsives who want to organize their digital lives better. But what makes Memolane even more useful is for people who want to record a timeline of a major event (say, your pregnancy with the twins, or your founding of a start-up). Watch out for more integrations with music and video. Could prove to be interesting.