The ghosts of Facebooks past

My go-to social medium for a long time was Facebook. I became a ‘member’ in 2009, a year before I graduated from secondary school, and I’ve been visiting the platform ever since (nowadays almost exclusively to check on my favourite internet-dog, Tucker).

Although I still occasionally share something myself on the platform, I’m increasingly confronted with ‘This Day x Years Ago”-posts. And I’ve noticed… that I cringe every time I read one of my older posts. Why? They’re not particularly special or offensive, they’re just insignificant details about my life at that time.

Is “insignificant” the key word there? Is the uncomfortable feeling that creeps up on me when reading my old memories fuelled by a sense that nobody cares about this thing I’ve shared? Did I really think that these bits of info were interesting to others at the time? Or was it just a matter of getting it off my chest?

I wonder if I am the only one who experiences this. Talking to some of my friends, it turns out that they recognise the feeling, although for some it’s just a matter of being annoyed at how whiny our younger selves were (or at least came across as).

It seems odd, this shame-like feeling that accompanies reading my earlier memories. Thinking out loud, I wonder whether it’s because I’m faced with the realisation that these memories are and have been public (to some degree) ever since I posted them. However, I have the same cringy sensation when stumbling upon an old journal entry in some notebook. Not sure what sort of psychological mechanism underlies this, but I ám pretty sure I’ll even cringe when I read what I’m writing now in a couple of years.

Do you recognise this experience? And why do you think this is? Feel free to let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from others about this!

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