“The charm of history and its enigmatic lesson consist in the fact that, from age to age, nothing changes and yet everything is completely different.” — Aldous Huxley.
I was struck , today, by the incongruence of three recent articles: two about the sadness of losing, in one case, and the shrinking of, in another, two highly successful, beloved, media institutions, and a third celebrating 5 Vintage Versions of Modern Social Media from Centuries Ago.
Our loss of the venerable, weekly Life magazine, was a salient point in the NY Times obituary of Life’s last Managing Editor, Ralph Graves. The obit hails Graves’ valiant efforts to keep this American institution afloat in its turbulent final years.
“Life,” the obituary notes, “was one of a number of general-interest magazines — among the others were Look and The Saturday Evening Post — that both informed and entertained large numbers of Americans throughout the 1940s and ’50s.
Life, in particular, with its emphasis on photography, was said to be the country’s chief source for learning what the world looked like.” Until the advent of TV…
Another headline, PBS News Hour Facing Cutbacks, Layoffs and Office Closings, mournfully reminds us of the rapidly shrinking halcyon days of in-depth news coverage.
Then, thank heavens, Maria Popova’s, weekly edition of Brain Pickings popped up in my in-box. Popova’s celebrating 5 Vintage Versions of Modern Social Media from Centuries Ago assures us that all that is new in modern start-ups definitely has roots in all that is old. Positively music to the ears of this 60+ start-up entrepreneur!
Popova covers everything from Voltaire’s status updates to Edison’s viral videos, including what Diderot has to do with data visualization as she notes, “We’ve previously made the case that everything builds on what came before yet our human tendency is to inflate and overestimate the novelty of our ideas. Today, we turn to five concepts from the centuries of yore remarkably similar to the central premises of five of today’s social web darlings [Twitter, Facebook, Quora, YouTube, and Tumblr].”
Popova’s insights are, as always, brilliant in their clarity. I’d only add one more “modern darling,” infographics. In another illuminating posting, The Lives of 10 Famous Painters Visualized as Minimalist Infographic Biographies, Popova visually distills the lives of artists, Pollock, Dalí, Matisse, Klimt, Picasso, Mondrian, Klee, Boccioni, Kandinsky, and Miro, in modern infographics!
We never stop learning. The format may be completely different, but our curiosity never changes.
Vintage is vintage and Resilience is key!