This year, Facebook and I celebrated our sixth year together. Mull that one over a bit. My relationship with my Facebook page has lasted longer than most celebrity marriages. And I’ll admit it’s a highly destructive partnership. While social media claims to be useful—and can be, if used appropriately—I find it’s mostly used for stalking acquaintances, making your own dull life seem more interesting, and of course, distraction.
The latest of these distractions is a website called What-Would-I-Say.com, which uses some kind of computer-sciencey algorithm that I don’t understand to generate goofy amalgamations of your previous Facebook statuses. I discovered this site last night and spent hours amusing myself. Remember, Facebook and I have been together six years. Things got very real.
“hi my name’s Kate, I’m a lazy college”. This was the first status that the site generated for me. Are you trying to send me a message, Internet? Like, I know I should be doing work right now, but you’re not my mother, KateBot. I’m fully aware that I’m shirking my responsibilities. Also, what if I actually was a college? Siiiiick.
I spent most of this experience trying to figure out where all the bits and pieces from each status had come from and try to make sense of the more ridiculous ones. Like, “Just going through me, and JellO were a boy, we’d date him”, or “someone buy some jars or something” or “if halloween were a bagel, or [name of friend], or a baseball game”. There is no logic or reason, and trying to find it just made my brain hurt.
Mostly, the site led to intense bouts of nostalgia. Many of the generated statuses were chopped-and-screwed song lyrics and movie quotes, hearkening back to my teenage obsessions with Lost and Blink-182. There were names—some people who I’m still friends with, but a lot of high school classmates or even old friends from BC who I haven’t heard from in ages. They were once important enough to me to merit a Facebook shoutout; now it’s been years since I’ve even talked to them.
And then there were oddly specific memories: “i’m in bertucci’s in 2009?” 16-year-old me loved brick-oven pizza! “my dad was in fulton 511 TONIGHT” My father did attend a late-night Shovelhead performance when I was a freshman! “remember when the celtics were good” Yes! 2008 was a great year!
But there were some rather unpleasant throwbacks, as well: stark reminders of passed-away friends and falling-outs, the names of somebodies-that-I-used-to-know glaring in a twisted mix of words–because the bots don’t know any better. There were bad memories, like the time I started crying at late night at Mac or I thought my bike got stolen, though looking back, both make pretty good stories.
Then there were the ones that just seemed accurate, like the site name insinuates—they were what I would say. “Boys and music.” “something about yogurt.” “everything was fairly legit.” “i’m naturally hilarious don’tchaknow.” “lots of BC.” “free chocolate milk?” They didn’t really fit into any category, but I found them to be amusing representations of the things I value most. The most accurate of them all? “I write things.” If anything is true, it’s that.
Say what you will about social media, but Facebook has seen me through most of my formative years. If my tinkering with What-Would-I-Say.com has taught me anything, it’s that Facebook doesn’t forget–document enough online, and your profile will be able to bring back memories, resurrect old friendships, and even take the words right out of your mouth.