Brynn and I went poking around Alemeda this weekend and stumbled into Pauline’s Antiques, the kind of place where you can find thick-walled whiskey glasses that were once sipped from by people who wore yellow sweaters unironically. Of course, you can find such yellow sweaters too, but what caught our attention were the unremarkable postcards scattered around the store reminiscent of a simpler time.
But one must ask himself: was it really so different then?
Superficially of course it certainly seems to like things are quite different from back then: faster, bigger, and more connected for starters.
The hallmark of this change, it would seem, is the simple status update. As more people have taken to publishing online, we the group formerly known as the audience has invariably gravitated to consuming smaller and smaller bits of content, leading to a culture of snack-sized sociality. For many of us, the status update seems distinctly modern — a sign of the times, cut from the networked medium of the age:
But hold on. Take a closer look there.
That tweet above? It’s a fake. It’s photoshopped. I took that content from one of those postcards I found in Pauline’s shop. It was post stamped in 1940:
Just goes to show that the more things appear to change, the more we prove what habitual creatures we are.
…Though I don’t doubt Miss Phyllis Epstein’s reply was terse, I reckon she was ever able to reply quite so immediately:
So maybe the drive to communicate, coordinate, and group hasn’t changed much, but perhaps our ability to do so quickly, cheaply, and at an unprecedented scale has? It’s surely no surprise, but only time will tell.