chapter  13
15 Pages

From Personal to Personalized Memory

Social Media as Mnemotechnology
ByRobert Prey, Rik Smit

Drawing on French philosopher Bernard Stiegler’s work, this chapter looks at a contemporary example of a mnemotechology: Facebook’s “On This Day” feature. It investigates how Facebook decides which memories to show individual users, and thus how the platform re-presents a version of the user’s self for them. Facebook continually tests On This Day through user experience research. The chapter examines the role that “On This Day,” and memory in general, plays within the Facebook economy. It provides a wider discussion on the potential implications of trusting our memories to mnemotechnologies. The chapter also focuses on the groundwork by introducing Stiegler’s concepts of mnemotechnic and mnemotechnology. Bernard Stiegler’s work has been of growing influence to scholars of media and technology. For Stiegler, technics—including everything from primitive tools, to systems of writing, to modern technology—are part and parcel of what it means to be human.