Permanence is tough to achieve in the Internet age. Though our camera phones and social networks mean memories are easier than ever to record and share, we retain few physical copies in photo albums or journals on a bookshelf.
Mark Michael and Daniel Rust aim to change that. Their Seattle-based company, EVO Media Group, wants to publish all the content of your Facebook profile from the past year and bind it in a lasting faux-moleskin diary.
“I think everyone’s getting more and more comfortable having their information stored digitally,” Michael told The Huffington Post. “But not everyone’s there yet.”
The service costs $49 and requires granting Yearly Leaf secure access to your Facebook account. Yearly Leaf then automatically culls status updates, photos and comments from a chosen calendar year and organizes them neatly in a bound journal. While similar services like SocialBook and Yearbound let you edit your Facebook journal content yourself, Yearly Leaf does all the work for you.
Michael got the idea for the service in 2010, when Facebook began letting users download their own Facebook data. After saving his info as a ZIP file, he wondered if there was a better, more attractive way to access that information.
“I went to my co-founder and asked, ‘Is there a way you can have this make sense to me?’” Michael said. His partner, Rust, then produced a moleskin prototype. The pair initially wanted to launch the company in 2011, but couldn’t immediately find an on-demand printer able to fulfill their 10,000 reservations.
Michael recalls perusing his own Yearly Leaf from 2011 -- the year he got engaged and married -- and seeing photos he’d long forgotten. “You don’t have the same sense flipping through digitally,” he said.
This act of rediscovery, via a twee coffee table book, is something the web cannot offer those who wish to tune out the constant update streams and focus solely on memory. But still, you might ask, why would anyone put down $50 to get what they can already get for free at Facebook.com?
Interest in the service points to a desire for tangible artifacts of our past, as we store more and more of our history on computers. It's precisely that desire that also creates demand for other ironic services, like ones that offer to snail-mail Gmail emails or print out Instagram photos.
Check out Yearly Leaf, which begins taking orders Wednesday, here.