I often favorite/like/heart things online. Mainly things my friends post or share, sometimes stuff they have reposted from somewhere else.
A few weeks ago, the essay/app Fish by Robin Sloan made the rounds. The main thesis is that we are spending so much time liking but not enough really absorbing the object of this. You can read a write up here on The Verge.
I took some personal umbrage at Sloan’s thesis that I don’t think about what I’m favoriting/liking/hearting. I do think about it, a lot. Some times I like something because the content is about a friend’s achievement, sometimes it is only to show them I am paying attention (a like on Facebook), other times to recognize beauty. There are other reasons too: a celebration about life transitions, something I wish I were doing, nice art I don’t want to forget, or even just a way to say, “hey, I like that idea.”
I do wish there was more I could do though. For my Twitter favorites, I can go to my favorites page. I also have an RSS feed. The same goes for Tumblr (minus the RSS feed). These are perused with some frequency. Some make me laugh for days or even years later. Some make me smile to see again – a new baby who is now a toddler, or a nice work of art. What I would like is a way to capture these moments, observations and declarations in some visual way to reread and enjoy in someplace more beautiful than a feed reader.
With likes on Facebook, it is a virtual black hole. Who knows where they go? I guess you can go through my activity stream and check ‘em out. Because these aren’t elevated in the interface, I have become less concerned. The purpose of a like evolves into a different beast. There are a lot of life changes and fleeting moments that get captured, but it would still be nice to remember what it was that I’m celebrating or laughing at or endorsing. Path has done a great job getting at the concept that some of these interactions are positive strokes that need a little expression. There, like Facebook, I am left feeling that these interactions are more ephemeral. I do hazard a guess that going back and having access to these would provide me with that same happy sentiment I get from reviewing the ones in my other accounts.
Back to the main question. How can these be visualized in a way that provides a warm fuzzy for us every day? There is an enjoyment in revisiting these items, and wonder why this isn’t an area that’s been explored. Is this the equivalent of a coffee table book?