One of the things I don’t totally understand is how my contacts seem to follow me from device to device. I get that some are synced with my apple account, which in turn syncs them with my iPhone. I get that some are on my SIM and others have been imported from this or that app, but in general – and I feel like I am not alone in this – for the like maybe 20 people I talk to or text in any given month, I have somewhere in the range of a few hundred contacts. A mildly intentioned archive of socialization I’ve amassed through the years.
I’m writing about this because I have come to entertain the idea that not syncing your contacts with platforms might be the smart privacy move, but it’s also dumb and not fun. Ever since I synced my contacts with TikTok, I have been greeted with a novel form of social content: videos from people “in my contacts” that I have absolutely 0 recollection of. Compared to the typical stream of jokes, dances, snark, etc., it’s a welcome minigame. How do I know this person? When did we exchange numbers? What are they doing now? Random Tinder matches from years ago or acquaintances from this or that trip will pop up in a manner that every other platform would have algorithmically phased out of my feed long ago. Just a fun activity.
Things to follow up on: digital debris, social archives, tiktok, contact privacy.