Many genealogists use Facebook primarily for the purpose of family history. It is a great way to keep in touch with relatives who live far away. It’s fairly easy to visit your cousin’s Facebook page to see photos of her new baby. Going back to a year ago, however, can be difficult. This problem is solved by a feature Facebook calls “On This Day”.
The On This Day feature was released in late March of 2015. It is described as “a new way to look back at things you have shared and posts you’ve been tagged in on Facebook”. Only you can see your On This Day page.
There is more than one way to access On This Day. Click on the On This Day bookmark. Or, search for “On This Day”. Another way is to visit facebook.com/onthisday. (The link will only work if you have a Facebook page.) It is also possible that you will see a story in your News Feed. The purpose of On This Day is to enable Facebook users to have an easier way to look back at old photos and other memories that they have shared on Facebook.
Use On This Day to see content that was posted on the same day one year ago, two years ago, and so on. It could be past status updates, photos, or posts from friends (that you have been tagged in). Only you will be able to see the content that appears in On This Day. Facebook users can also choose to subscribe to notifications so they will get an alert when they have memories to look back on.
Of course, Facebook users will have the option of sharing some (or all) of what On This Day shows them. It’s “opt-in”. Nothing is shared (or re-shared) unless a user intentionally does something to make that happen. People are free to simply enjoy the photos and memories from past years that happened on a particular day if that is all they would like to do.
What does this mean for the genealogist/family historian? It means you can use Facebook to review photos and other posts that come from the past. You can also choose to re-share some of those memories with your relatives who are on Facebook.
This could start some interesting conversations about the photo from a graduation, wedding, family reunion, or birthday party that you shared. Your relatives may be inspired to share their own memories about that day, or to post some family photos that you may not have seen before.
On This Day allows Facebook users to edit old posts. Was there a “typo” in the post? Go ahead and fix it before you re-share it. It also gives users the option to delete old posts. Why would you want to delete a family photo? On This Day brings up a photo of you and your cousins drinking at the family reunion. You posted it because you were all having fun. Two years later, that same photo might be a bit embarrassing!
Image by Maria Elena on Flickr.
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