Are you suffering from technostalgia?
Posted by Rob Holtom
March 25th 2011 at 10:00
Do you find yourself wistfully longing for the technology of your youth? Then you may be suffering from technostalgia. Rob Holtom explains…
If you’ve recently pulled on a pair of jeggings (jeans + leggings = jeggings), listened to X Factor “sensation” Jedward (John + Edward = Jedward) or had a staycation (stay + vacation = …yeah, I know, you get it) then you’ll be familiar with the trend for crashing two words together to make a new one. Here’s a term that might be new to you, though: technostalgia.
Technostalgia is the warm, fuzzy feeling you get from reminiscing about the technology of your youth. Get together with some mates and often it’s only a matter of time before the conversation turns to the “good old days” when technology was in its infancy. Any younger members of the group – those under 25, say – hardly glance up from their smartphones as us older ones begin the collective remembering.
We begin by reeling off the names of our first computers – ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Vic 20. Once brimming with technological promise, they now sound faintly absurd and twee. We become more and more animated as the memories come flooding back – getting blisters from playing Daley Thompson’s Decathlon on the Atari into the small hours; the teeny-tiny buttons on our calculator watch; the first web sites we visited after queuing up for hours for the singular library computer.
Technostalgia, though, isn’t just pub chat fodder. Business is cashing in, whether it’s selling us apps of the arcade games we loved in the 80s or creating modern mobile phones with “retro” styling. Perhaps it’s appealing to the time when technology, like our lives, seemed just that little bit less complicated.
If you fancy a trip down dotcomemory lane (apologies, one of my own making), a good place to start is Internet archive Wayback Machine (www.archive.org). Contributors to the site have helpfully taken snapshots of some the world’s most popular sites going back to the Nineties. Take a look if you want to remember what Microsoft or Google looked like when they were young.
What technology do you most remember growing up – and what’s ripe for a comeback? Let us know below.
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