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What’s behind a whole new wave of web nostalgia?

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The tech world has been overtaken by a wave of nostalgia. In the last week alone, we’ve seen the reemergence of 2006 viral sensation Lonelygirl15, the resurrection of the Napster brand, and exultant response to the mere possibility of a new Mario game.

All this wistfulness comes at a time when much of the industry is wracked by existential doubts. Trolls seem to have taken over social media feeds and comments sections, cyber-surveillance and hacking are inescapable, and content – often indistinguishable from advertising – is funneled through just a few major players.

Even Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web, is organizing a do-over of sorts, telling The New York Times, “The web is already decentralized. The problem is the dominance of one search engine, one big social network, one Twitter for microblogging. We don’t have a technology problem, we have a social problem.”

So it only makes sense that consumers are hungry to embrace a perceived golden age – a time-hopping jumble of technology that eschews ubiquitous surveillance and marketing in favor of simpler pleasures.

The BitCam app, released by Iconfactory earlier this month, simulates the experience of using a 1996 digital camera on your iPhone. Diving even further back, the Berlin-based Impossible Project released the I-1 in May, the first camera to shoot Polaroid-style film in more than a 10 years.

Vinyl has been making retail inroads for nearly a decade; even cassette tapes are seeing a resurgence (for anyone who lived through the original era of cassettes, this one’s just completely absurd).

If VHS tapes ever make it back in style, we’re just going to drop out of society completely.

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