For something that's such a major part of our lives, Facebook gets crapped on a ton. And some of the criticisms are valid—the privacy settings are egregious, the ads are getting out of control, and, like me, you might have a few too many baby pictures now clogging up the newsfeed.
But the "Year in Review" feature they rolled out today is pretty awesome. If you go to your profile right now, you'll see it in the top right corner. Click it, and check out what Facebook has decided are the biggest stories of your year—how many friends you've added, what major life events you've experienced, and what popular photos you were tagged in.
The first time I tried it out, the tool actually worked: Facebook had created a digital scrapbook of my 2012, without me actually doing anything. Recent photos that surrounded my move to the city showed up, as did photos from graduation and status updates from the last days of college. It was actually kind of annoying how stupidly wistful for the recent past the page made me. DON'T MAKE ME SAD, SOCIAL NETWORK THAT USED TO BE FOR STALKING HOT CHICKS.
Then, I went back on, and, unfortunately, everything was different. All of the photos and status updates that could have been considered "major" this year were replaced by irrelevant photos (even one spam photo) that were shared on my wall, and three of the 20 stories on the page came from the last (uneventful) week. So Facebook might have some bug issues right now.
But we still encourage you to check it out. And if it's true that nostalgia is accelerating, and we're starting to miss the recent past before we're actually supposed to, then the 2012 Year in Review is the tool for our times.
(If you buck the trend and don't enjoy just looking at yourself and your friends, as most Facebook users do, then you can head to Facebook Stories to see a more macro view of the year through a similar program. Among the insights: The top status update expression was TBH, and No. 2 was YOLO; "We Are Young" was the top song among users and "The Hunger Games" was the most popular books; and Times Square and Disneyland are the places people checked into the most.)