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Let’s recap — not the election or imposture of Mr. Trump, but the trajectory of the mass-distributed personal update. In the beginning, there was the holiday letter, an annual mimeographed review delivered by post to a roster of relatives and friends. Then, from the late 1990s through the aughts, came the periodic mass-email update: often deployed by backpacking or otherwise soul-searching 20-somethings, easy and free to disseminate, with recipients blind carbon-copied to prevent a vicious Reply All cycle. This was followed by the advent of blogs, and the private suddenly went public. These were soon usurped by social networking applications, especially Facebook, which enabled even the technically challenged to relay news about their lives to a wide spectrum of people, not always their intimates, and at more frequent intervals.

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