The Internet Of Scraps

Nicholas Carr muses about the relationship between social media and scrapbooking:

Pinterest makes its scrapbooky nature most explicit, but, really, all social networking Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 3.49.15 AMplatforms are scrapbooks: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Flickr, Ello, YouTube, LinkedIn. … Blogs are scrapbooks. Medium’s a scrapbook. A tap of a Like button is nothing if not a quick scissoring. Scrapbooking and data-mining are the yang and the yin of the web: light and dark, aboveground and underground, exposed and hidden. Today’s scrapbooks serve both as a counterweight to the bureaucratic file and as part of the file’s contents. The Eloi’s pastime is fodder for the Morlocks.

Inherently retrospective — a means of preemptively packaging the present as memory — the scrapbook is a melancholy form. Pressed insistently forward, we spend our time arranging the bits and pieces of our lives into something we think looks something like us. If the material scrapbook of old was familial and semiprivate, the new scrapbook is social and altogether public. It’s still a melancholy form, but now it’s an anxious one, too. It’s one thing to construct an idealized life, a “best self,” for your own consumption; it’s another thing to construct one for all to see.

(Image collage from the Instagram account of Zoe Di Novi, beloved Dish alum: “Hat inspiration BFF selfie Saturday.”)