New Criticals

What seems to be important about Carly’s story is that the act of creating and producing the Facebook albums is part of the promise of bringing that fun summer into being. These albums don’t look back and reflect on fun summers past, but instead look forward to the promise of future fun. Carly’s fun photos, uploaded and added to her album in the “heat of the [fun] moment,” are not a strategy for reflecting on that moment, but a way of experiencing the fun itself. Indeed, in times characterized by profound and constant insecurities, the digital presentation of family seems to “pin down” family happiness (as we’ve argued elsewhere), but also, and just as importantly, keeps mothers in a holding pattern, presenting and presenting again the family in the moment that it experiences itself. The family does not just come to know itself through reflection on a photographic narrative, but instead experiences its life, the present moment, through self-presentation.