When it comes to social media fads, I'm a little bit of a party pooper. I won't re-post the graphic that says "Sisters are the best! Share if you also love your sister!" (even though I do, in fact, love my sister). I don't change my profile photo to raise awareness for the cause du jour (even if I support it privately). And when my entire family got in on the #icebucketchallenge, I refused to post a video proving that I poured ice all over my head (which I did do, eventually).
I guess I'm a bit of an online introvert, preferring to watch from the sidelines and post only when I feel really motivated to share something; and I definitely have a streak of trend-aversion in me, making it less and less likely that I'll jump on a bandwagon the bigger the bandwagon gets (I'm looking at you, Serial).
But there's one movement taking social media by storm that is right up my alley: Throwback Thursday (or #TBT).
If this is your first day on the internet (welcome!), Throwback Thursday is a weekly opportunity to dig out tacky high school photographs of yourself and share them with the world. People post old "throwback" pictures on Facebook and Instagram, inviting their real life and online friends to laugh or smile at a virtual quick-trip down memory lane.
And I love it.
I love seeing images of newer friends in their "old" glory days. I love digging up snapshots from my own glory days and surprising my childhood friends with a post tagging them and making us all laugh. And as time whizzes by with increasing speed in my life as a mother of small children, I love looking back at the changes in my own family over the last seven years.
I'm also a big fan of Timehop, an app that gives you a "on this day in history" record of all your social media activity. For those like me who have been Instagramming the heck out of my kids for several years now, it's a great way to get a glimpse of time gone by.
I think the appeal of #ThrowbackThursday to me is that it pulls our focus out of The Now (yes, I know we're supposed to live in The Now, but hear me out on this one) and reminds us how quickly time passes, how slippery the years get as we slide toward middle age, and how this season of life we're in is just that: a season, one that will look as awkward and poorly outfitted in hindsight as the late 1990s do right now.
Not only is this a trend I'm happy to get behind, I think it's actually a really healthy one for mothers of young kids.
So much of what the internet has to offer is potentially toxic to moms. Let's panic about measles! Look at my Pinterest-perfect craft success! Check out how many calories I burned today! Here's a list of all the things that suck about motherhood! It's easy to get sucked into a game of comparison, self-doubt, and negativity - and it's even easier to forget that the lives behind the avatars we interact with online are more than just what their latest post represents. Looking backward - whether it's 30 years or 3 - forces us to step outside that cycle of online comparison and competition and see the bigger, and often funnier, picture.
It reminds us that our peers - even the ones who seem to have it all together - have histories too. Histories that include terrible haircuts and wild nights out in college.
It reminds us how quickly time passes. College boyfriends become handsome husbands. Chubby babies become leggy first graders. High school best friends drive minivans and become attorneys.
It connects us to our mothers and our grandmothers, our future grown children and their children. Taking just a second to note the passage of time reminds us how cyclical this life is, and drives home the bittersweet truth that these days are numbered.
So while you probably won't catch me joining in on the next big social media fad (which lately seems to be making homemade parody videos to Taylor Swift songs?), you can always find me with a smile on my face on Thursdays, throwing it back.