Our Perspective

Facebook Memories: Smile or Cringe?

by: Carl Santos-Ocampo
published on: 01/31/2016

It was 10 years ago when my friend Bradley introduced me to this social networking site. He gave me an overview of the website and explained how much more "professional" it was compared to the mainstream favorites: Friendster and Myspace. At the time, Facebook only allowed college students to join. So in the summer of 2006 upon receiving our personal college e-mail accounts, everyone hopped on the band wagon and got their fresh new Facebook accounts. It was a frenzy to add people we knew and even add people we didn’t know but went to the same college with. It was a way of finding more about that hottie who was sitting two rows down in your Biology class. Newsfeeds were in no one’s vocabulary then. Writing on each other’s walls seemed to be the cool way to send messages and sometimes the back and forth pokes would never stop. Uploading a profile picture had to be done via digital camera, which you plug into your computer with a USB because the quality of camera phones just didn’t cut it. There was a 60 picture limit on an album and tagging your friends in photos was the coolest thing.

Fast forward a decade later, Facebook has gone from the growth to maturity stage. Uncles, aunts, and grandparents all use the app regularly while the younger demographic chooses other social apps like Snapchat and Instagram that require even less of an attention span. Times are changing in the world of social media but only one thing that seems to be permanent: our previous posts and pictures lay embedded in the history of our accounts and for our entire network to see. These memories are brought to the spotlight further by Facebook’s "On This Day" feature. Back in the day, my parents used to create actual albums then store them in shelves. It wasn’t as accessible as it is now through the digital storage of Facebook. Certainly, different memories can elicit a range of emotions.

A memory showing up saying "5 years ago. Getting matching tattoos with my partner" - who is now an ex. An inescapable memory that is definitely cringe-worthy! On the other hand, you will find memories that will take you down memory lane and get you all sentimental about the good old days. Perhaps it could be the nostalgic feeling seeing a graduation picture with your best friends or a great adventure or triumph that you accomplished. Either way, Facebook memories have its way of hitting the heart.

For that matter, all memories have a way of hitting the heart. Working full time in wealth management, I will constantly hear comments from financial professionals and clients alike such as "the dot com boom in the 90’s were the glory days" or "back in 2007 when the housing market crashed, the fall seemed endless". When investing, there’s a term called loss aversion where in people’s tendency to strongly prefer avoiding losses overrides their preferences in acquiring gains. Loss aversion develops when one negative event leaves such an emotional scar that it hinders that person from ever taking risk again. Everyone has these moments in their lives that they seem to associate strong feelings to and thus all their actions are based on these certain assumptions they made from the past.

One of the blessings of maturing and growing up is that you are able to build your memory bank of experiences. You give yourself the freedom to make choices and take risks and see how they pan out. From there, you are able to calibrate, increase your rate of success, and overall be more confident in your decision making because of what you have learned from the past. However, not everyone seems to benefit from past memories. What I’ve come to realize is that strong emotions can play such a big role in one’s decision making and a lot of times override logic. The challenge usually comes when you’re faced with a choice to either push yourself or remain in your comfort zone.

One example I’d like to share is a Facebook "on this day" memory that popped up on my newsfeed. A year ago I had moved from the Philippines to Naples, FL in search for a new beginning as I left the comforts of professional golf in hopes of a longer term career. A screenshot of this post is attached below. The rest as they say is history! Being part of the High Net Worth Advisory Group of Raymond James has been an eye opening journey. It has been a joy to see our team helping clients each day with their wealth management issues and making sure they are always better off today than they were yesterday.

Whether it involves investing in the stock market, playing a competitive sport, dating, or dealing with friends and family, the choices we make today can leave a domino effect for better or for worse. Sometimes, we have to realize that taking one step back to move two steps forward is necessary. If we make sure to also use our logic in deciding the appropriate balance between risk and reward, then I think it will make for better memories and more success down the road - with less Facebook memories to cringe.

“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.”- Albert Einstein

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