More fun and games with atemporal media: TwitShift offers a novel service, wherein they hoover up the last year’s worth of output from your Twitter account and repost every tweet on exactly the same day and time as they were posted originally… exactly one year later. [This link via LifeHacker, who aren’t getting their proper attribution links until they provide URLs that are guaranteed to deliver the viewer to the page I actually wanted them to see.]
Atemporal reportage is no new phenomenon, of course; for example, George Orwell has been (re)covering the fall of Europe to the Nazis for some time now, exactly seventy years since it actually happened. But the personal angle of TwitShift is curious, because it highlights a fascination with our own very recent pasts, a growing trend wherein – as the distance we can see into the future with any feeling of confidence decreases – we’re obsessed with building a narrative about how we got to where we are.
There are good and bad sides to this, I think; aphorisms about understanding history and the repetition of mistakes are plentiful, but the problem with looking back over one’s shoulder is that it increases the likelihood of one walking into a lamppost. Given the way my own life was unexpectedly upended by circumstance a year ago, I’m really feeling that tension: it would be interesting to revisit my own experiences with the benefit of hindsight, but I’m not sure how much genuine value I’d get from doing so.
I wonder how much further you could take this idea, though? Multiple atemporal feedback loops at different distances: last week, last month, last year, last decade? Become the sole academic of your own history! Be your own psychological panopticon! The doors of The Hall Of Mirrors are also mirrored! When the road ahead is foggy and strewn with rubble, what better recourse than to remind oneself of earlier successful swerves?