Nostalgia is one of the most powerful feelings a person can have. The psychological draw to a time long-gone is something brands haven’t shied away from utilising. Nostalgia marketing is used to associate a customer’s positive emotion towards the past with a product/brand. Marketers will use references to familiar events, ideas, objects, or elements to tug at their audience’s heartstrings.
Nostalgia marketing is typically aimed at younger consumers—millennials and Gen Z. The most popular way for marketers to use nostalgia is through social media. Through social media, marketers can target similar age groups and connect them through shared life experiences and common memories.
But marketers aren’t the only ones using nostalgia to create content. Nostalgia has creeped into the everyday social media usage of normal users, shaping many of the content trends we see across multiple platforms, particularly from Gen Z users.
@afewmegapixels Is shooting on film destroying your bank account? Why not try one of these digital cameras from the 2000’s #digicam #compactcamera #nostalgia #asthetic #camera #digitalcamera ♬ Point and Kill – Little Simz & Obongjayar
Gen Z has grown up with the pressures of social media weighing them down since their very early teens. The eldest in the generation also grew up during the biggest tech developments—from polaroids, to digital cameras, and finally to smartphones.
Over the past couple of years, and particularly at the start of COVID restrictions, we began to see a shift away from perfectly edited content on social media towards more authentic and raw content. Instead of brightened images, users began posting unedited photodumps showing the realities of their everyday lives.
Following the unedited photodumps, we began to see the rise of film cameras and users editing their photos to appear as if they were taken on film. Users have now taken the tech nostalgia trend into the early 2000s. Digital cameras (and flip/brick phones) are on the rise.
Across TikTok and Instagram, users are sharing the photos they’ve taken on digital cameras, and their tips and tricks to taking the best photos with the old school camera. The hashtag #digitalcamera on TikTok has over 264.2M views so far and the search “digital camera” has over 2.1 billion views, with countless videos created by users.
@nadish_life ✨My new Hobby✨ #photographer#digitalcamera#digitalphotography#digiclub#digicam#62digiclub#cutecamera#cutecam#camcover#samsungcamera#samsungcam#цифроваякамера#самсунг#cutecamcorder#oldcamera#oldcameras#fyp#aesthetic#ａｅｓｔｈｅｔｉｃ#эстетика#fypシ#рек #врек ♬ maybe im in love – flo
But where is this tech nostalgia stemming from?
Entering adulthood and managing big responsibilities is a stressful time for any generation, but particularly so during a global pandemic and looming recession. So, yearning for their early years and a simpler time makes sense. Gen Z are the most avid social media users, and spend the majority of their free time connecting online. Because Gen Z creates content freely and consistently, the nostalgia has been amplified and shared on a global scale.
For younger Gen Z users who have no recollection of original technology, this technostalgia trend opens up a world of nostalgia they are free to explore as they wish. Many have begun combining this with the ever-popular Y2K lifestyle trend to create their own versions of the early 2000s style.
Not only has this nostalgic trend offered comfort to Gen Z during times of uncertainty, but helped creators and brands make content that users perceive as authentic. Incorporating generational nostalgia into content connects huge groups of people together with a shared memory. In doing this, accounts have been able to create a community of people that are genuinely connected and enjoy their content.
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