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Information evolves over time like a living organism.What’s relevant this year might not hold as much weight a few years from now.

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That’s why it’s important to display your absolute timestamps in a friendly format.

A problem with absolute timestamps is that they force users to convert timezones to get their local time.

There are two types of timestamps that most sites use. These factors will determine whether your timestamps are usable or not.

Relative timestamps display the number of minutes, hours, days, weeks or years ago a post was published. There are times when users need to look back on past content to retrieve information.

Avoid confusing users by using a written date format on your timestamp.

Write out the month name in full or abbreviated form, but don’t abbreviate the year.

To display the user’s local time, you need to have the user’s timezone offset, so that you can add it to your database’s UTC value.

You can get user’s timezone offset by auto-detecting them with this Javascript Timezone Function.

But most people in 24-hour countries are so used to both systems that they have no problem switching between the two (source).

Because of this, you should display your times in 12-hour clock as the default.

Absolute timestamps display the exact date and time a post was published. Without absolute timestamps, users can’t target a specific period to find the information.