Andrew Travers Andrew Travers is an interaction designer and researcher. He’s the author of Interviewing for research.

Andrew Travers


The hurdle of our pre-digital lives

On Facebook's Timeline and what it says - or doesn't - about who we are.

There’s something undoubtedly compelling about Facebook’s upcoming Timeline feature. It’s the first thing they’ve done that feels like it could have come straight out of Cupertino. It tugs at the heart strings and makes the connection between product and memory in a way that reminded me of Apple’s intentionally emotive approach to promoting FaceTime. So I think Facebook’s doing something genuinely interesting, not to say a little grown-up here.

But I wonder about the way it’s going to impact on how we present our histories, or rather the material we use to do so and what it will say about us. I’m probably a bit older than you, but much of the photographs I’d use are in a city 400 miles away, in old biscuit tins in my parents’ home and the barrier to me showing you just how adorable I was in a Dumbarton kit circa 1982 is huge. These are not objects that are readily shareable.

What I do have dates from the early 2000’s up to today. It’s my history, of course, but it’s a very partial reading of who I consider myself to be - tied to one particular city, relationship, career. Missing chapters and critical context, a very digital memory.