In an era of instant nostalgia, the idea of a Year In Review almost seems superfluous. We celebrated the moment as it happened online, then we read hot takes on it for the next day and a half, and then we commented on how long ago it felt the next time someone mentioned it. But the stupefying nature of the modern echo chamber is exactly why Year In Review items resonate more than ever. So much happens so often that it’s easier than ever to forget it. That’s when Facebook steps in every December to show what we were talking about all year long.
Nothing seems less essential to capturing the moment than perusing what’s trending on Facebook. A zillion other sources are competing at every second to be the one to break immediate news–especially your friends’s statuses–while those little updates on Facebook’s sidelines have a curiously tone-deaf and simplistic way of conveying “news.” While Facebook’s capacity for delivering current events may be flawed, its ability to help users relive them is super on-point.
This year’s video focuses on events as monumental as the Syrian refugee crisis, and as ephemeral as the diversionary flashpoint of nothing that was #TheDress, presenting them as we saw them all year: as FB status updates. The video shows the two Parisian attacks that bookended the year abroad, and the steady thumping of the Black Lives Matter movement back home; while not shying away from innocuous moments that brought people together, like the celebration of Back To The Future Day. It was that kind of year.
All the while, Facebook subtly reinforces its place in all this by showing how, for instance, Dave Grohl might use the platform to communicate directly with fans or Bill Gates might offer to match FB users’ charitable donations, and also depicting events as happening through a life-size Facebook status window. And if watching the video isn’t enough recent nostalgia for you, Facebook has a lot more lists and doodads in its Year In Review package that you can read until you’re so sick of this year, you’ll be begging for 2016.