He said he was going through some papers in his mother’s house and found it, a postcard I had sent him years before when I still lived in New York. It was the Empire State Building and a brief greeting scribbled on the back- how I was working (or not) and sending good thoughts to a friend in Italy. He scanned it and sent the image to me saying- “Remember when people used to actually sent messages with pen and paper?” As I looked at the image, the sepia-toned memory was quickly replaced by the buzz of my phone announcing another post on Instagram and it made me wonder, what really has changed. While we used to send letters we now send emails and postcards have become Facebook or Instagram posts. We seem to be exchanging one devil for another constantly shedding the shell of the old for the perceived new. As Virginia Heffernan writes in her brilliant “Magic and Loss” we seem to be heralding back to a Victorian age where children are to be seen and not heard. indeed, she suggests that now we produce children only to produce images to spawn more likes and shares, their images frozen in electronic amber. People now scale construction sites and buildings to post images from these heights, now known as rooftopping possibly giving up their lives for a like. Yet if we lose our life in this pursuit our digital legacy will live on. Our digital artifacts will outlive us and one day might be museum pieces, like stereoscope or view-master slides holding us all captive in an electronic eternity.
As the namesake of this blog might suggest I have a certain interest in media and more to the point the so-called social media or new media. It was with the certain irrational of a man my age that I saw that Instagram is now becoming popular than Facebook and will in the future take over as the dominant social media tool. It’s not so much that I have a fondness for Facebook (I don’t) or that I do have a fondness for Instagram (I don’t) but rather that I am not looking forward to getting to know a new media outlet. With the thoughts of Moore’s law (that new technology, like a mythological snake, keeps devouring or reinventing itself every two years or so) in my head I think to myself, enough is enough. Can’t I just settle into a technology and work with it for some time. Has a younger generation become addicted to change just as an older generation may have done much to justify addictions to smoking or segregation. Has this acceptance become overpowering for those of us who just aren’t ready for the Moore tidal wave of change. Will change become its own virtue with nothing being as good as what will come next or will we simply run out of options the impossible exhaustion of the possible where time has ceased to keep everything from happening at once for everything has happened or we are drowned in a flood of every changing media.