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The Endless Appeal of Old Pictures

The New York City Department of Records just uploaded nearly a million photos of the city and its inhabitants taken over the past 150 years, like this one of Babe Ruth at the 1936 World Series.

And it turns out we love old pictures, or at least like them very much. So far 85,000 of us have hit the Like button on the Daily Mail’s story, which features a selection of the images. (Update 4/30/12: It’s now over 92,000 Likes.) Compare that to the social likability of Daily Mail stories that feature more current photos: 31 for a story about Obama on the cover of Rolling Stone, 177 for Madonna breaking the record for #1 albums, and 233 for the new lingerie pictures of a Victoria’s Secret model.

It’s not just gorgeous old NYC photos that are challenging the perception that social media is just for real-time news that can’t wait around for traditional media outlets to break the story. When it rolled out its Open Graph integration last year, London’s Independent learned that several quirky stories from the late 1990s were the most shared stories of the early 2010s.