Every day, it gets harder to avoid the fact that my data is owned by a foreign multi-national company. They may not be evil–yet–but they do not have my best interests at heart.
Every day as I scroll mindlessly through my Facebook feed, I consider leaving.
I even see articles on my Facebook telling me, “Yes, you Should delete Facebook”. I probably should. While I still can. But I’m struck by one inescapable conclusion: I can checkout any time I like, but I can never leave.
Why? Just one word: Nostalgia.
Fact is, Facebook does have my data. I should leave.
But more importantly, Facebook has my memories. Which means I could never leave.
Facebook remembers will crystal clarity the moments that would have otherwise long faded to dust. My brain is a sieve at the best of times. Names and faces have faded from view. I don’t remember much of my wedding day, apart from the aging pictures on the wall, and the three anecdotes we constantly retell. That’s because I was married twelve years ago, and only a few awkward photos made it to Facebook.
But I remember my children’s births.
I remember them growing up. First birthday parties. Cake all over their face. Jumping in muddy puddles. I remember the time they plastered stickers all over their face, and the time they huddled together under an umbrella in a downpour. I remember when my grandmother held her youngest great grandchild. I remember the time my daughter scored four goals in soccer game, and when my son flipped upside down into a foam pit. I remember how they used to talk when they were three and the sounds they made they were two.
Because every day Facebook, reminds me what happened On This Day. When that happens, I am thankful, and I am glad.
For instance, today is my daughter’s birthday. I can see her, in one quick swipe, from the day she was born to the gap-toothed seven-year-old she’s become, and all the steps in between. Because of this, my heart is fuller, my day is happier, and my life is better. Because of Facebook.
Twenty years from now when my children are out of home; thirty years from now when I am holding my own grandchildren in my arms; fifty years from now when I am widowed and alone, perhaps; I will walk this journey again in my personal time machine. I will relive all the moments my failing brain could not remember and be thankful that bytes do not ages as neurons do, for these moments will be as crystal and as clear as the day I posted that Facebook status. It will be worth the cost. I will be thankful I did not delete my Facebook account, and did not delete my memories.