'Still more fun': The shelf life and analysis of online pictures
In addition to selling spiffy cameras, Kodak marketed the pleasure of picture viewing. Flipping through photographs, it suggested, brings a pleasure that exceeds the actual moment photographed. This 1923 ad in Companion for All the Family articulates that idea.
Today, the ad's assertion rings true — with a minor revision: "Making pictures — that's fun. Looking at them afterward and writing comments with your Facebook friends — that's still more fun."
We are devoting unprecedented attention to others' pictures. It's no longer a matter of meeting in person to peruse a photo album. They're accessible at any hour online.
Commenting on Facebook pictures has become a popular pastime for many teens and young adults. One picture can elicit 10 or 15 comments, spurring back-and-forth banter about facial expressions, conspicuous cleavage and wandering eyes, among other things.
There is an unspoken protocol to these comments. It's generally vogue to poke fun at yourself ("Why didn't anyone tell me my hair looked so bad?") and praise your friends ("Megan, you look gorgeous!"). Another common comment is praise for the group picture ("Hot mamas!") and the couple shot ("Awww...You two are so cute!") And if someone looks drunk, it will be pointed out. Quickly.
For better or worse, Facebook members are re-playing parties, vacations and ordinary moments online.