While dusting off my unused DeviantArt account, I was confronted by that most confounding of quandries that so riddles the “social media” world: Naming your favorite things.

There is no right answer to these profile questions. Do you lay out your true tastes for all the world to see, however…”idiosyncratic” they might be? Do you take the opposite tack, professing admiration for the “right” things, to appear smart, hip, insightful. It’s not unlike Tina Fey’s description of playing your own iPod at a photo shoot.

But the more maddening aspect for me, when it comes to listing media in particular, is: What time frame am I supposed to consider?

My quick pics for “favorite film,” for example, haven’t changed in the past decade. Have I not seen a single worthwhile film in all that time? There have been many that I’ve enjoyed, but very few that I would return to and watch over and over again, and the ones that I have rewatched I don’t know that I would quite give “favorite” status to. But what does that say about the films on the “favorite” list? Are they really my favorites (good though they are), or just things that I really liked at a formative time in my life, and thus have lodged themselves in there forever?

TV shows are on slightly more solid footing–though then too there are still questions: I liked this show, but is it a “favorite”? Should I list those few anime series I really liked, still own, and might rewatch? Will that peg me as an ‘anime person’? And what if I forget something important? And what about those shows that I really loved back when but haven’t seen in forever? Are they still good?

Are they still good? That one question strikes to the heart of my dilemma. My life has been full of media consumption, but there is no way that I can completely re-experience and review everything I’ve ever consumed right now in the present moment to see if it is up to snuff as a current favorite. And even if it were somehow possible, timing is everything; mood, experience, received opinions–all of these things affect how something is received. All I have to go on, then, is if I remember loving something. And as any 30-year-old who’s sat down to watch their favorite childhood Saturday Morning Cartoons can tell you, memory is an untrustworthy bitch (so too are past tastes–and not even just childhood tastes). Books pose the greatest challenge. What matters most: formative influence, subjective quality now, or yet some other criteria?

And when I do fill out these (of necessity incomplete) lists, it merely sets up more work for when I change my mind the next day.