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Social media the ultimate time capsule

Earlier today I was mindlessly scrolling on Instagram, as I so often do (and arguably am conditioned to do), and had an epiphany of sorts. I realized that Instagram, Facebook, and the other non-Zuckerberg owned platforms act as a sort of digital time capsule. Of course, this is not an original thought. I think it is common knowledge that we post images of significant moments in our lives to commemorate them (and to help them not get lost in the vast collection of screenshots, pictures of receipts, and memes that are our camera rolls).

However, as social media becomes further and further embedded in our day-to-day lives, our engagement with these platforms extends beyond sharing images from birthdays and anniversaries, drooling over a slice of avocado toast, or reposting a hilarious video of your parent being a boomer. Now, due to certain new features, as well as a general shift in society’s relationship to social media, these platforms capture our more intimate moments, and provide a more holistic, less surface-level look at an individual that will never expire.

In terms of features, the direct message/call option on all of the different platforms grants users the ability to forever record interactions ranging from catch-ups with friends and family, the beginning of great loves (see one’s “Blocked users” list to see the fall of these same loves), and important networking opportunities. This feature allows one to scroll through their old messages and reminisce on these conversations, and see the development of certain relationships through the years.

Additionally, the story feature creates a dynamic in which users can share the fleeting moments of life that they may not deem worthy of an actual post, which aids in holding on to all of life’s moments, no matter how small. With a conventional time capsule, one is limited by the space of the container, and thus are more selective with what they choose to encapsulate. The digital time capsules that are social media are only limited by the extent to which one uses these platforms and chooses to share their life.