Not as exciting a blog post as it sounds sadly. I have not in fact (and pretty obviously) invented time travel. I am clearing out my email inbox. I have 8000+ emails dating back to 2006. That’s a lot of random to sort through. I have made a folder for “personal correspondence” (of which there is a lot so far – but I’m only on late 2007, by 2008 I was firmly hooked on Facebook and the personal emails dropped off). I have also made one for all the emails that relate to things I did in my grad school classes, for no other reason than to prove to myself in later years that my student loan debt is in fact the result of something.
The rest is stuff I do not need but evidently thought that one day I might. I am now being ruthless… delete… delete… delete… it is slow going: I started at 8600 emails and I still have 8000 left to go.
I am not sure why I suddenly want to sort out my emails but I sometimes get the sense that I should curate/purge my online presence and this is one of those times. I also just tried (in a flash of inspiration) to access my old Hotmail account that I haven’t used since I signed up for Gmail back in 2006. I can’t remember the password so I tried the security question but I have no idea what my favourite movie is now, let along back when I created that account when I was 15 or so.
For now the treasures of my teenage Hotmail account remain undiscovered.
It is funny to see the old Facebook notifications though. Evidently at one point in time my mum thought to send me something “for my aquarium” and poke me a lot. There is also a Fun Wall notification. I have no idea what Fun Wall was. I do remember when Facebook went all Twitter and changed its look, though funnily enough I don’t remember what it looked like before the change (and I think it has changed again since then). I remember when my cousin put as her MySpace status “S has moved to Facebook.” I deleted my MySpace account during the last purge, years after I stopped using it, but I saved all the blog posts into a Word document first.
Maybe it’s the historian in me but the history of my online presence, and of the various technologies and mediums for communication I have gone through (which given my technophobia, isn’t actually that many) fascinates me. Ah for 1999, chatrooms, and sharing “asl” with what were, let’s face it, probably sex offenders (especially given that my 15-year-old self’s chosen screen name was Kinky_Boots). I am very thankful that my teen years included Microsoft 95 and dial up rather than Snapchat and *insert whatever other hip social media the kids are using nowadays here* Given the current insane proliferation of online identities I am not sure that today’s teens will be able to “curate” their online presence in their thirties, even if they wanted to.