Facebook Displays Old Status Updates in Memorable Stories Sidebar Module

Facebook is testing a new Memorable Stories sidebar module which shows users four of their old status updates and when they were posted. The module is sometimes displayed in the right sidebar when users click “View Post” on a news feed or wall story. In some cases, users can click on the post’s timestamp to view the original post, complete with Likes, comments, and an additional set of Memorable Stories. In other cases, clicking through a post returns an error.

Memorable Stories breaks from the typical reverse chronological ordering of Facebook content and instead helps users consume a succesion of their best posts from across the years, and increasing time-on-site.

The feature doesn’t just show updates which received multiple Likes and comments, but rather pulls a random assortment of old status updates. In that way it’s more like flipping to a page of an old diary than a collection of your most popular or relevant posts. Users can click an ‘x’ next to stories to remove one and see another.

With time, Facebook may improve the feature by changing it to only show posts with Likes. It could also apply natural language processing to attempt to weed out posts with negative sentiment.

So far we’ve only seen Memorable Stories from as far back as 2008, though Facebook has clearly saved all of our content since you can download a copy. Apparently, the module can display status updates a user had removed from their wall, which some may have thought meant they had deleted. This could irk some users who wanted to permanently retract a a previous statement

Memorable Stories will be enjoyable for most, though some might not want to be reminded of more difficult times by seeing status updates they posted while stressed, depressed, or angry, or even from happy times that have since passed.

Facebook’s Photo Memories sidebar module would often show images of a user’s old romantic partners, leading to hurt feelings and strong negative feedback on the feature. Facebook responded by changing Photo Memories so it wouldn’t display photos of people users were previously listed as in a relationship with. It will be interesting to see if some users have similar negative reaction to Memorable Stories about how in love they were with a past partner, or how tough it was when they lost their job.

Memorable Stories addresses the issue that the most recent content on Facebook is not always the most compelling. By processing Likes, comments and tags to determine a post’s relevancy, Memorable Stories could show the best of your entire life on Facebook, just as the news feed does for your past week.

[Thanks to Brittany Darwell and Imogen for the tips.]