I created 5 Facebook Look Back videos because I’m manipulative

Now you can manipulate everything about your Facebook profile, even its past. 


Molly McHugh


Published Feb 7, 2014   Updated May 31, 2021, 7:02 pm CDT

I cannot be the only person who was disappointed with their Facebook Look Back video. I’m fully willing to admit that the extent to which I felt personally shortchanged is not at all justified. Facebook is a massive property with a whole lot of tenants, and it mechanized the process of grabbing some random uploads, using some fairly generic transition edits, and putting it all against a soundtrack that triggers something in our brains that goes “d’awww.”

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And that’s fine; I’m just as susceptible to the effect as the least cynical among us. But after a couple of plays, I realized my video sucked. Like really sucked. The first photo was almost completely black; the status updates were all really sarastic or bland (which says more about me than Facebook, but I know that’s not my best material); and the most important people in my life were absent. 

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Luckily, Facebook is now giving users the option to edit their Look Back videos. Facebook gives you a set amount of content to choose from, not your entire database of Facebook uploads, so you have to repeat some stuff. But still, it’s something. 

The whole point of Facebook is to project, to create a version of ourselves we find shareable—our best self. So being able to edit these videos, which are effectively summaries of ourselves, is a thing of power. Power which I will abuse. 

This is my nicest self

This is the video I will show to my parents, because I am so nice. Sooooo nice. If I’m not with my family, I’m having an adequately good and safe time with my friends, during which we are all polite smiles and fun times. No one is too drunk, too naked, too angry, too anything. We are mild-mannered and fit right in. It’s as if I took a prep course on what sort of stuff is OK on Facebook before I even joined. 

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This is my disgusting self

Parties, gross food pics, booze, blurry photos. I am a horrible, gluttonous monster with no regard for personal care or what people want to see on Facebook. Most of my statuses are irreverent or misspelled. My pictures are usually stuff I found in a sink that I would like someone to assess with me, or I don’t remember being in them/taking them. I am a mess, but I’m proud of it, and I take nothing seriously. That’s sort of my thing; I hugely identify with the SWUG lifestyle, even though I am far past senior-year status. 

This is my most popular self

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Look at how many PEOPLE are in these photos, everyone. Sometimes I’m with them, sometimes I’m not, but damnit, I must be incredibly likable/popular. There are some faces you see often, and then sometimes it’s like, HOW DOES THIS GIRL HAVE SO MANY FRIENDS?! I know, it’s hard to believe, but I attend many social functions that are all highly documented. I am always excited for that part of the night where someone wil announce it’s time for the group photo so we can officially and publicly commemorate this moment. 

This is my most selfless self

Just TRY and find me in this video! It’s going to be tough, because all I really care about are friends and family and talking about them and the things they do. There isn’t a selfish bone in my body. I use Facebook to send touching correspondences to my friends and family, and all my photos are of the activities I do with them or them actually doing those activities. I am far more likly to comment on or like a status than to write my own. 

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This is my most selfish self

Oops, disregard everything I just said! I’m actually a horrible selfie-obsessed narcissist monster. I never met a front-facing camera I didn’t like, and I find no shame in being the girl who approaches strangers so that I can be in the photo and not just the one taking it. My statuses are things of art that my Facebook friends are lucky to get to read. And I don’t use Klout often, but I do check on a regular basis. I have referred people to my Yelp reviews more than once. 

Photo via afrooboof/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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*First Published: Feb 7, 2014, 10:00 am CST