Nowstalgia is nostalgia hitting lightspeed

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The Future. Time moves so fast that we may be entering the era of “nowstalgia” — cycles of missing things that, in actuality, are pretty recent. This phenomenon could encourage brands to give their products a second life if they didn’t really take off during their initial release.

Coined by BBC’s Leah Carroll, nowstalgia is the phenomenon where culture or society moves so fast that people start to miss things the moment they can no longer do them or they’re no longer available.

  • That corresponds to the COVID pandemic — when the lockdowns hit, people immediately started to feel nostalgic for live music, going to the movies, and indoor dining.
  • Additionally, culture feels like it moves faster than ever, thanks to social media warping our perception of time — so things seem older than they really are.

Nowstalgia cycles may act as smaller societal movements within larger nostalgia cycles — which typically run in 20-to-30-year patterns (for example, Gen Z is feeling nostalgic for all things Y2K now), allowing adults who experienced a product or piece of entertainment as kids to share that love with their own kids.

That’s big business — a 2014 study found that people spend more on products and experiences that invoke nostalgia

Speaking of which… remember 2014? Good times.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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