If you've wondered if your social media posting will ever amount to more than shouting into the digital ether, there's no better time to put it to use than as the year comes to a close.
After all, this is when many people feel a natural inclination to reflect on the last 12 months. For the average person, this can be difficult to do without distilling our lives into a handful of major events -- a marriage, birth, memorable trip, etc.
Obviously, a lot more happens to us than these highlights, but it would be inefficient, if not impossible, to remember everything. With only so many neurons to work with, we naturally have to devote space to just a few noteworthy points.
Unlike our memories, however, social media never forgets.
Before the Internet, keeping a journal would be the obvious solution to keeping track of your comings and goings. Modern society might scoff at journaling as a hassle, but Facebook, Twitter and other services serve a similar function. Every witticism, opinion and snarky comment we make on these services remains as sharp as the day we pressed "submit."
So when a box appeared on my Facebook profile earlier this week, asking if I would like it to compile a Year in Review for 2012, I happily accepted.
The report included, among other things, pictures of my adventures at Chattacon, posts during my band's three-concert blitz on St. Patrick's Day, a picture of me with Bela Fleck in May, a photo album of my nephew's first birthday party in July and my one post during the November election.
As my most popular updates, these were, Facebook reasoned, the highlights of my year, but they only represent a fraction of what I posted.
Further prowling through my various feeds reminded me of other significant happenings, including:
* Joy over my move to St. Elmo and the thunderstorms I've weathered there.
* Blow-by-blow observations of the Of Montreal, Jack White and Band of Horses shows at Track 29.
* My sub-140-character eulogy to Ray Bradbury.
* A photo journal of my band's "tour" in Kentucky.
* My delight over Chattanooga being used as a setting in "Iron Man 3."
These and others events are the mortar holding together the bricks in my wall of life. If my brain can't be bothered to catalog an exhaustive record of my activities, it's nice to know Facebook has my back.
Contact staff writer Casey Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.
Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...