“Is this you?”
Yesterday, an intriguing notification of a new Twitter mention popped up on my desktop. “Bit of a weird on (sic)
this, but is this you?” it said
A photo was attached. It was me, 12 years ago, playing a pair of keyboards and looking moody in front of a microphone.
Back in those days, I used to play electronic pop music live as ‘The Star Fighter Pilot’ (a name I still use for recording when I have time). Inevitably, people took photos of my shows that I’ll probably never see. In this case, the photographer had been looking through the pictures he took for a venue in 2006 and found one featuring someone who looked a lot like me.
As today’s news section above shows, facial recognition technology is now used more widely than ever, and it’s already embedded in our photo libraries via services like Google Photos and Apple Photos. It’s now a lot more likely that people will find photos of you in their collections, from far in your past, that you’ve never seen before.
Before I saw the photo attached to the tweet yesterday, and I’d only seen the “is this you?” text, I’ll confess that a quick pang of worry flashed across my brain – what on Earth could they have a photograph of me doing?
Facebook has a facial recognition feature that can alert you when a friend uploads a picture of you. That’s handy, but part of me wishes I could get alerts about any photo of me published anywhere, by anyone, whether they tag me or not.
It’s not that I think they’ll show me doing anything wrong, just that – well, it can be good to know what people are sharing. And then part of me thinks there’s such a thing as knowing too much – even about yourself.
Either way, we should get used to our past selves coming back to say ‘hello’ via other people’s old photos a lot more often in the future.