Facebook as an Archive

Ann Cvektovich’s An Archive of Feelings was very interesting to me, in a variety of ways. Going off the title, the book is about the story of women and their accounts of trauma, as an archive. The book is very powerful and resonates with many audiences, not just women that faced the same struggles and conflicts seen in the book. While looking at this “archive of feelings”, I decided to look at an archive of modern technology, with social media.

It seems that a large variety of technologies may be considered an archive in this day and age. Many technologies, in their nature, record activity over short and long periods of time, which can be considered an archive at a basic level. In definition, an archive could be described as a history of information. Think about all the things or technologies that may fit this definition. Think about the things you use everyday. Look at simple things such as your computer. This is an accumulation of many of the works you have done throughout your’s and it’s life. Going off of this, a phone works in the same way. Your phone has messages, pictures and conversations that have been created over its history, and a portion of your life. An archive I’m interested in speaking about is social media, and Facebook in specific.

It seems that everybody has a Facebook these days. In fact, a recent count shows that there are over 1.23 million active monthly Facebook users. 1 This number is mind-blowing, especially when you think about the fact that many people don’t have access to computers. People are spending huge chunks of their lives on Facebook. In this way, it’s not hard to see why Facebook is an archive.

I want you to think about the ways in which it would be Facebook is an archive. Think about the day that you first got a Facebook, and how much of your life you can review. You can hop on Facebook and you have access to years of pictures, and conversations. It’s crazy to think about this stuff. Look back and see how much you’ve changed. Some people put photos from their everyday lives on Facebook to look back at it later in life. Years of people’s lives are captured on Facebook, and they will continue to be captured until Facebook completely falls apart. In many ways, this is a great thing but it can also be sad to think about. Some people may get on Facebook and look back at pictures just be reminded of tragedies that occurred earlier in life. Others may have had Facebook for half of their life, and be able to look at pictures from when they were a child and recall how fast they grew up.

Sometimes it is crazy to look at technology in different ways and many people choose to see it only at a basic level. However, the ways in which we view technology are only going to grow as the technological age advances.

1.) http://thenextweb.com/facebook/2014/01/29/facebook-passes-1-23-billion-monthly-active-users-945-million-mobile-users-757-million-daily-users/

2 thoughts on “Facebook as an Archive”

  1. I enjoyed reading your post. And I didn’t realized that Facebook was such an actively used social media still, I thought it was not as popular as it used to be. But I agree that Facebook definitely is an archive. I know for myself personally I use Facebook to upload photos in an album so that I can look back and have memories, instead of using an actual photo album anymore.


  2. On the flip side, that same archive is used by others to make first impressions. “Facebook creeping” is built on the ability to utilize these archives people set up and now someone is able to learn more about an acquaintance without their knowledge. I almost see Facebook as a sort of novelty that really isn’t used often, but is occasionally tinkered with to past time.


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