52 letters in 2018 (week 12): Share a memory

Week 12 (March 19-25): Share a memory.

Depending on which article or research you find online, you’ll find that social media is either good for or bad for your memory and mental health. This is a blog post and not an academic paper, and I’m already several days behind on posting it, so I’ll save you the research and instead share a personal anecdote.

Facebook doesn’t make me less depressed. Occasionally I see nice reminders popping up that make me say , “Awwwwww!”

But more often than not, I’m reminded of a lover who died, is dead to me, and/or broke my heart; dead pets; dead relatives; former friends; former lives; my long and hilarious adventures with alcohol abuse; and a daughter who no longer speaks to me.

Without Facebook, it’s not like I’m not reminded of these things anyway, but they aren’t regularly popping up on my screen to say, “Hey remember me!”

We humans are not meant to remember it all. If we were, we would.

Instead, we collect mementos that we squirrel around our spaces, which we can pull out when we want to trip down memory lane.

Or our memories are jogged when we are walking past a coffee shop and do a double-take because a ghost from our past appears in the window. “No, that wasn’t him… he’s gone now.” We walk on. We remember.

So I’m chipping away at a process I started more than a year ago: I’m deleting as many memories as possible from Facebook. I’m an early adopter, which means I’m deleting years and years of photos, shares, over-shares, and updates. I’m deleting outrage and heartache and celebrations. I’m deleting announcements, pronouncements, and cat memes.

I’m kicking it old school. If friends or family want to know what I’m up to, they’ll reach out to find out. They’ll write or call or come visit.

Otherwise, well… they don’t really want to know. And that’s ok, too.

I remember a life before Facebook.

I remember when my desire to connect with friends and family was private, rather than data for algorithms used to change my mood, my decisions, my behavior.

There’s nothing wrong with my memory. I just need to take better care of it.

  • Week 1 (January 1-7): Send a Happy New Year’s note.
  • Week 2 (January 8-14): Send a Thank You note.
  • Week 3 (January 15-21): Send a postcard from your community.
  • Week 4 (January 22-28): Mail a postcard or letter to another country.
  • Week 5 (January 29-February 4): Mail a Valentine to a pal.
  • Week 6 (February 5-11): Mail a minor.
  • Week 7 (February 12-18): Mail an oldie.
  • Week 8 (February 19-25): Write a note to a pet.
  • Week 9 (February 26 – March 4): Clear out clutter.
  • Week 10 (March 5-11): I see you.
  • Week 11 (March 12-18): Write a letter to yourself.
  • Week 12 (March 19-25): Share a memory.