I read this post: Why I’m automatically deleting my old tweets using AWS Lambda where the justification for regularly deleting your old social media content is that they are no longer representative of the current version of you and thus can be misleading. This has certainly been the case when famous people’s older tweets resurface (James Gunn comes to mind).
To each his own and I kind of understand the intent, but this kind of thinking is a bit anathema to me. In fact, I tweeted this just a few days ago:
As a digital pack rat, it always annoys me when I remember how much of my own pre-cloud data I am no longer able to recover— Roy Tang (@roytang) August 27, 2019
In fact, I wrote the tweet above because I was annoyed that there was no more way to recover older things like chat logs from now-defunct messenger apps (Yahoo Messenger, ICQ, AIM) that I used back in the day. I’m sure most of the content there was inane and probably of no relevance to anyone other than me, but I wish I had found a way to archive them anyway. Unlike physical posessions which eat up space and can be problematic when sorting and arranging, digital archives are much cheaper to retain and easier to access.
I think for me, the fact that my older social media posts reflect a past and possibly different version of me are a feature, not a bug. It means I can use social media to dig through my own history and as a supplement to memory, a sort of audit trail of my thoughts. I guess it is a tendency of that “pack rat” side of me. It may be unnecessary sentiment, but I find that as I grow older, the more I appreciate the ability to have artifacts of the past to look through.