TimeHop, Skip and a Jump: App Takes You Back


WHAT WERE you doing one year ago today?

We’ve all asked ourselves that question at one point or another. Sometimes just for fun, other times because life is a big ol’ mess and we wonder whether we had our stuff together better last year or three years ago or five years ago.

TimeHop is a new app app looking to answer this question once and for all. It syncs with your social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Foursquare to track where you were one, two, three, four, and five years ago — to the very day. Enter your login info and the app does the hunting for you. Give your thumbs a break from all that scrolling! Abe the (adorable) dinosaur mascot is there to hop along with you back in time each day for History of You 101… which is little comfort if you’re like me and downloaded the app only to found out that four years ago you were posting stuff on Facebook along the lines of “I want to shave my head and lay in bed all day.”

And that’s the only real issue I’ve found since downloading the app. Sometimes it can be a real laugh to come face-to-face with the you from however-many years ago, which the brave folk who share their childhood writings in front of stranger filled audiences can attest to in the documentary Mortified Nation (which you can stream on Netflix). Sometimes, though, the past is better left in the past. My life four and five years ago is entirely different from the life I have now (thank gods). I have a different partner, I live in a different city, and I like to think I am less naïve and immature now than I was then. And while it’s great that one year ago today I was lounging in Nice and it was 72 degrees and sunny, that doesn’t make me feel good about the fact that I am probably going to be in pajamas on the couch for most of today. Sometimes seeing the difference between now and then feels disappointing, even when we know we’re happy. There have also been a few old tweets and photos that prominently feature old love interests that I could do without seeing because I like to pretend they live on say, Pluto, most days. Or Uranus. I could do without those flashbacks.

But, hey, maybe it’s a chance for some perspective and reflection. Until someone really invents the DeLorean time machine, our social media accounts might be the best peeks into our pasts. It’s like Rafiki said, “Oh yes, the past can hurt. But you can either run from it, or learn from it.” (The app also lets you know things that happened over a decade ago in the world….like The Lion King came out 15 years ago.)

Reviewers of the app seemed pleased, but I think I’ll be deleting it from my phone if they take the suggestion made by one commenter to include MySpace as a synced app. Our selfies from above and survey question answers are definitely best left in the past. But if you’re curious, prepared to judge yourself a bit and willing to be exposed to what might be uncomfortable nostalgia, give the app a try.

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