Among the negative publicity Facebook has been receiving of late — settling its privacy violations with the Federal Trade Commission, plummeting stock, and continued griping from users as they’re forced into its Timeline format — there is a story that has been only slightly reported in the media earlier this month that shows one of the more “extraordinary” ways the social media platform can be used.
Mayank Sharma was diagnosed with a form of meningitis that resulted in hydrocephalus (water on the brain), causing him to lose all memory he had prior to this time. He says he lost 27 years of his past.
“I just remember waking up with no memory,” Sharma said in a video sharing his story. “I couldn’t even recognize my own reflection.”
Sharma said he didn’t understand what the relationships in his life meant. He couldn’t grasp what it meant to have a father, mother, brother. Saying that “it’s the past that makes you who you are,” Sharma wonders “who am I?”
Once healthy enough to start using the computer again, Sharma found “a website called Facebook” in his history. Clicking it, Sharma was able to start the process of remembering a wealth of information about himself thanks to other users who could speak about his past for him.
Facebook is using Sharma’s story to promote two of its tools. The first is one that has directly helped Sharma piece together the puzzle of his past: the “People You May Know Tool.” The second is Facebook’s new “Stories” feature, which helps show how people are “using Facebook in extraordinary ways.”
“Imagine if that tool wasn’t there,” Sharma said. “How would I feel about anything?”
Watch Sharma’s short story:
According to Mashable earlier this month, a Facebook spokesperson said this feature is designed “to celebrate the different stories that are coming out of Facebook. [… it shows how Facebook lets users] leverage connections, deliver social value to their communities and work through adversity in their own lives. We wanted to build a place where they can live and be showcased and celebrated, and also to give them some context.”
In addition to Sharma’s story in Facebook Stories’ first installment, which falls under the theme “Remembering,” are stories regarding the science of the mind and memory and factors contributing to it, as well as other people’s most unforgettable memories. Here’s more from Facebook on what the Stories section will include each month:
We’re also introducing some regular features you’ll find here each month. The Bookshelf will feature a Goodreads list of books that helps you dig deeper into each month’s theme. For August, author Joshua Foer shares some titles that helped him hack his memory en route to winning the U.S. Memory Championship, an experience chronicled in his 2011 book, Moonwalking with Einstein. The Playlist uses Spotify to allow you to explore different genres of music curated by inspiring artists. This month, electronic artist Sabrepulse shares how nostalgia for childhood video games led him to a the Chiptune community, a group of artists who turn old gaming systems into unlikely dance track instruments. Finally, the Reading List gives you exclusive access to the archives of some of the world’s best storytellers like The New Yorker, who provided three picks this month that will get you thinking about the process of remembering from different angles.
Facebook invites any users to submit their own stories using its app.
(H/T: Business Insider)