Two weeks ago, I got a Kodak Pulse digital picture frame. The Pulse has wireless Internet access, and it steals pictures off my Facebook photo albums and displays them to everybody in the apartment. My roommate, my roommate’s boyfriend, the plumber—they’re all forced to view the never-ending digital slideshow that is the past five years of my life.
Like any professional narcissist (i.e., memoirist) worth his weight in self-portraits, over the last five years, I’ve posted hundreds and hundreds of Facebook pics. The Pulse shows ‘em all, not just the recent ones (though, there is a special mode for that). So along with my roommate, my roommate’s boyfriend, and the plumber, I’m forced to confront my past on a daily basis.
Well, not my real past, my severely edited past. Like any professional narcissist, I crop and edit my decent pictures before posting them. And I don’t post the unflattering ones. The pics that make the final cut don’t reflect my day-to-day reality so much as they reflect how I want others to imagine my day-to-day reality.
Picture of me with a dolphin: I’m adventurous and outdoorsy.
Picture of me with my law school books: I’m smart.
Picture of me wearing Crocs and socks: I don’t care what others think of me.
My Pulse doesn’t show me how I’ve evolved so much as it shows the evolution of how I want others to perceive me.
But I suppose that’s revealing, too.
Practical concerns: The Pulse was easy to unpack and easy to set up (took me about 10 minutes). The price is high ($120), but not shockingly so. The Pulse has this awesome collage mode, which favors displaying pictures of me with my family next to pictures of me with scantily clad Vegas dancers.
Very funny, Pulse.
(Only trouble with the collage mode is that I can’t figure out how to get the annoying collage icon out of the upper-right corner of the screen.)
In the next month or two, I’ll probably take the Pulse to work with me, and give it a new home in my cubicle. Lord knows my poor roommate gets enough of me as is.