Article written by 2012 DPDF Mediated Futures: Globalization and Historical Territories Fellow Katie Day Good:
This study surveys recent research on print-era scrapbooks and contemporary social media to highlight commonalities between the two formats, both in terms of the practices they have historically promoted for users, and the methodological challenges they produce for researchers. It argues that scrapbooks and social media can be conceptualized as sites of personal media assemblage and personal media archives, a designation that highlights the simultaneously social and archival dimensions of each form. After discussing these formal similarities, the author identifies three shared functions: (1) documenting friendship, (2) navigating new media abundance, and (3) communicating taste and building cultural capital. By drawing functional and formal parallels between the two media, the goal is to observe how these ‘old’ and ‘new’ technologies might mutually shed light on each other’s neglected social and archival dimensions, offering scholars a wider range of angles from which to approach them as cultural and biographical texts.