The Internet Does Not Let You Forget

In Wired, Lauren Goode wrote about how the apps and services she uses will not let her forget about the wedding she cancelled:

[…] The internet is clever, but it’s not always smart. It’s personalized, but not personal. It lures you in with a timeline, then fucks with your concept of time. It doesn’t know or care whether you actually had a miscarriage, got married, moved out, or bought the sneakers. It takes those sneakers and runs with whatever signals you’ve given it, and good luck catching up.


I want a chisel, not a sledgehammer, with which to delete what I no longer need. I don’t want to have to empty my photo albums just because tech companies decided to make them “smart” and create an infinite loop of grief. That feels like a fast path to emotional bankruptcy, a way to “rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should,” as the writer André Aciman put it. “To feel nothing so as not to feel anything—what a waste.” There it is: What a waste. Not wasted time, even if that is also true; that would be too cynical. A waste of potential joy.

This essay is a phenomenal exploration of coping with our decreased agency over our memory.

One of the Google engineers that Goode interviewed for this story explained that they implemented their Memories feature because, in part, many pictures were not viewed after they were taken. It seems that few people considered that, sometimes, we do not want to see those photos again — or, if we do, that we would like to do so on our own terms.