Tagged: Timehop

Like a Punch in the Gut

Have you heard of Timehop?

I have. I even used it for a few years. It was a neat app that sniffs through your social accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Foursquare (now Swarm), to present you with a list of things you posted on this day one, two, three, or even more years ago.

Timehop requires a Facebook account to work. You can’t use another identity system, such as Twitter, Google+, or a username and a password. If you don’t have an active Facebook account, you can’t use it. And because I quit Facebook, I also quit Timehop.

I deactivated my Facebook account a few days after Sarah and I broke up. At one time, leaving Facebook was an unthinkable choice, something that disillusioned young teens and millennials did once their parents took to the social networking site. I wouldn’t say that quitting Facebook was a difficult choice as much as it was a necessary one. Almost everything about my life was about to change with that breakup, and I wanted to remove myself from this toxic digital garden that tethered me to that past. I didn’t want to deal with seemingly empty, well-meaning words of support from my friends, which would likely stop after a few days or weeks. I didn’t want to post some self-affirming quip and to have friends “like” it as if that would repair my shattered self-esteem. I also didn’t want to see my list of friends dwindle one-by-one as our almost one-hundred mutual friends took her side over mine. And, because of how my friends use Facebook, I couldn’t bear to read everyone’s endless stream good news and happy talk. I needed to quit Facebook, not to move on, but to forget and to disappear.

Nearly four months later, a lot of that despair is more or less behind me. Quitting Facebook likely helped because it forced me to reset almost everything and to reassess the meaningful relationships in my life.1 I no longer wonder what someone close to me is doing because I can reach them directly and ask them. And if I want to post something, I can do that on this website and share it with the entire open web.

A day or two ago, I met with my friend Joe, who is going through a divorce, and thus, we are confronting a lot of similar issues and challenges. As we shared our sad experiences, both crushing defeats and small victories, he formulated some advice for anyone going through a breakup:

Delete Timehop.

I asked him why.

He said that each day, each little reminder about what you did “on this day” some years ago is not a gentle tap from the past. Each one, he said, is like a punch in the gut.

My decision to leave Facebook, and consequently Timehop, seems like an especially wise one.2

  1. Curiously, I have kept my Instagram account going but mostly because the posts there are less about everyone’s good news or random thoughts or complaints. Also, the number of people I follow is significantly smaller. 
  2. Also, without a Facebook account, I am also barred from joining Tinder. 

Rabbit Ears Still Work

Timehop scrubs through your social network accounts and offers a summary of what you did on this day one year ago, two years ago, three years ago, etc. It’s really not as creepy as you might think, since you posted your thoughts, activities, or whereabouts to Facebook, Twitter, or Foursquare in the first place. It often jogs my memory about trips I took or friends I hadn’t seen in a while. At the end of your feed, it includes a story of interest (though not always an interesting story) from the pages of USA Today of what happened on this day some years ago.

Evidently, four years ago today, televisions broadcasters went all digital:

YES, Rabbit Ears Still

Analog TV signals are shut down across the nation, as stations begin to broadcast only in digital. No more rabbit ears!

Although 2009 marked the end of analog television signals that had been transmitted since the 1940s, it did not spell the end of the rabbit ears. The only antennas that would be retired would be really old ones that were in circulation before 1960, when the VHF band was the only one around. The VHF band was for television stations broadcasting on channels 2–13, and the broadcasters have migrated off that band.

Although the television signals we use today are for the most part digital, most television stations today transmit on the UHF band. That band was designated for television channels 14–69 and was established in 1952. Television receivers and antennas have fully supported that band since 1960. Television antennas, both the rooftop and the rabbit ear kind, can still receive the new digital signal and pass it to your television set. The only problem is that if your television set is older than 2000, then it won’t know how to decode the digital signal.

Cable and satellite companies took this as an opportunity to sign up new customers thinking that those that received over-the-air television would be doomed. Instead, they were just duped.