Facebook is celebrating the one year anniversary of ‘On This Day‘, the feature added to Facebook to help us remember the stuff we posted on the social media network some years ago. The default memories the Facebook algorithm brings up is three years ago.
To celebrate the event, Facebook posted the relevant stats to show how how far On This Day has come. The figures are worth bragging about anyhow you look at it. In just one year, 155 million people have subscribed to its notifications. While 60 million people hop into On This Day every day to check out memories from a few years ago. Today, Facebook can add me to that 155 million subscribers. I checked out the feature and actually liked what I saw.
Three years ago according to my On This Day page, i updated my status four times. All the four updates were quotes from Chinua Achebe, one of the greatest Nigerians since independence. I can remember vividly scouring the Internet then for those quotes. It was about the time Achebe died and that was my way of letting my friends know how much he meant to me. A fast Internet search showed Achebe died on the 21th of March three years ago. I am now a fan of this feature.
Before Facebook launched On This Day, there was already a similar stand-alone app known as Timehop. It was launched in 2011. There is a strong argument that Facebook actually copied what Timehop was doing. At the time On This Day was launched, Timehop did not see Facebook’s attempt to copy its app as a threat. At least publicly. Jonathan Wagner, the CEO of Timehop, said then that,
“My general feeling is that this is awesome validation that we’re doing something worth doing. One of our investors put it really nicely that if Facebook isn’t playing in your space, you’re probably not doing something worth doing.”
I guess since then, Timehop has had serious cause to worry about On This Day. While Facebook’s nostalgia feature was able to leverage on its over 1 billion users to sign on, Timehop has seen their user base grow to just 12 million subscribers and 6 million daily users at the end of 2014. To be fair, those numbers are impressive for any start-up. But in the context of Facebook’s numbers in just over a year, that calls for serious thinking from the Timehop team.
This is the problem start-ups face when bigger companies launch similar products or services. Firms like Twitter, because they are already big, can weather the storm from Facebook Live or Google’s YouTube Connect challenging its online live video service Periscope. On the other hand, firms like Snapchat have to really up their game to stay relevant or Facebook’s recent acquisition of Masquerade would endanger its existence.
To subscribe to On This Day service is very easy. Just go the help page. You would guided you on how to set it up. You can also change what kinds of memories you want to be reminded of and what period of your Facebook history you want dredged up. The system is not perfect though. But it does a good job of reminding us of some of the cool things we did on Facebook. Brace yourself, you can also get to see events you never wanted to remember or recall. You know, the kind of memories that made you very sad.
photo credits: tnwcdn.com; imgur.com; squarespace.com