Sorting through my recently discovered pack of old postcards has provoked not only memories but also an unexpected feeling of sadness for the Facebook generation.
This intrusive all-seeing all-knowing app (what a ghastly truncated word) has enabled them to bombard their army of “friends” about every aspect of their lives. The postcards of the 21st century.
They are collected into albums and stored in Instagram, Picsnap??? and similar programs. Presumably destined to be out there in the ether for eternity.
Which, in some ways, is excellent. A lifetime of friendships, dalliances, break-ups, affairs, births and deaths, weddings and divorces, kittens and puppies, even culinary delights and disasters. They are all there as aide-memoires for when dementia assails us in our closing years.
But will we have time or patience to wade through the vast pictorial morass we will have created?
Decades of wholesale uploads will have replaced single carefully chosen snaps of memorable gatherings.
Instead of a couple of photos of a cluster of friends frozen in time we will be confronted by ten, twenty, thirty shots or even shots of the same occasion uploaded en masse with no attempt to weed out those that are blurred, out of focus, repetitions or simply something the subject would not wish to display to the world at large.
Pictorial overload. Visual excess.
And the comments that are inevitably attached to them: awesome, amazing, wow, stunning to quote only a few – elevate what is frequently mundane or best left to private viewing to a level that is rarely justified.
Although it is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, the law of diminishing returns surely dictates that we are rapidly approaching the point of nil profit on our photographic investment.
Some, like the fellow writer who documents all the minutiae of her life and bombards us with innumerable pictures in multiple daily uploads, are already well overdrawn and bankrupt of interest.
The boredom level created has soared into the stratosphere.
The pictorial deluge that infests our lives provides none of the tactile pleasure I experience thumbing through my pile of postcards; none of the simple joys of shuffling them around the table as I try to create a sequence of milestones from the scant evidence they provide.
Study the scene on the front, turn it over, read the message, seek a date in the blurred postmark, turn back to the front and seek to marry the scene with my presence there.
The when, the why and the who with?
It is a mundane pleasure and one the Facebook generation would probably fail to understand, or even appreciate.