Pretty much everyone loves surprises. But if you’re one of those weird people who doesn’t then maybe stop reading and go open your Christmas presents early or something.
Because I’m here to tell you all about futureme.org, the modern-day time capsule service that allows people to make their future selves’ day with an email they’ve probably forgotten they sent.
It works like a webmail service, but instead of instantly sending the email, you get to choose which date the message will arrive in your inbox. Five days from now, five months, five years… the further into the future, the more surprised future you will be. Then just confirm your email (to be sure you aren’t trolling future someone else) and voila, you’ve sort of time travelled.
They recommend that you use a personal email over work email because there’s no way you can know that you’re not going to win the lottery and move to Hawaii between now and the future. But you can always go back and edit the address you’ve registered, so that’s helpful for present you in the future before you become future you.
It’s also possible to choose whether your email is public or private, and the site publishes public (but anonymous) excerpts of emails, which can be good for a laugh.
“FutureMe.org is based on the principle that memories are less accurate than e-mails. And we strive for accuracy,” claim the authors of the site, who also have Dear Future Me: Hopes, Fears, Secrets, Resolutions is a collection of alternately sweet, sad, funny, desperate, angry and hopeful letters sent from ordinary people in the present to their mysterious future selves.
Matt and Jay, the founders who established the site in 2002, both worked for internet companies and threw it together in their spare time over a total of about 40 hours. Since then they’ve had an abundance of coverage and interviews, and of course the book.
Sadly though, in this dog-eat-dog world a cool site like FutureMe still doesn’t pay the bills – maybe because providing a service in the future means you don’t get paid until the future – and they’ve set up an entire page dedicated to accepting donations from appreciative users.
The benefit here is that even if someone can’t afford to donate today, who knows how rich future them will be. After all, the site’s users are pretty much guaranteed to be with the in the future.