Ari Saati, Managing Editor
Everything needs a point of reference; something that places life in a more digestible context, and over the course of my college experience this has time and time again manifested itself through “Hey Arnold” and Corey Matthews. 90s young adult programming dominates menial casual conversation among the college age population and this speaks volumes for what we’ve deemed a common experience.
Within the confines of almost every relationship I’ve had, the discourse has, at some point, gravitated to gleeful nostalgia for “All That.” While this is far from a bad thing, it certainly sheds light on how we relate to one another using pop culture as a buffer to smooth things over. It’s easy to rely on the consumption of media, especially in the college setting where bombardment with new faces is the norm, to find some kind of common ground, which ends up being “Clarissa Explains It All” more times than logic would ever dictate.
More so than ever, it’s become rare to connect via common experience among our age group, that’s why we find solace in external “likes” that don’t necessarily have any bearing on a person’s character. It’s the “Break In Case of Emergency” of human interaction, regressing to the one thing almost every 20-something remembers doing: Blankly gazing at a tribesman gets uncomfortably aggressive with an unsuspecting 12-year-old on “Legends of the Hidden Temple” with a mouth full of Captain Crunch. Not only does it bridge this gap, but it feeds into our fixation with nostalgia. It’s a sensation that’s hard to escape: I mean, I feel nostalgic for things in my life that haven’t even happened yet.
This is best personified with the app Instagram, adding a layer of depth, albeit vapid, to any mobile upload by making pictures look like one of your parent’s Polaroids. With the advent of the iPhone app, blurry cellphone pictures that embodied the fleeting Information Age come into a new significance as we all get behind this collective nostalgia. The impact of these synthetically aged pictures goes far beyond a distinguished profile picture; it speaks to the threshold we’re willing to tolerate before something becomes a fond memory. Now, a picture taken with Instragram allows us to view it as something transcendent, coupled with a Facebook post provides an avenue for everyone involved to immediately reminisce.
It’s all kind of bizarre and could only be a product of hyper-immersive social media, but it’s become the norm. The integration of Facebook’s timeline streamlines this, making navigating one’s own life down a linear line completely normal. Facebook’s recent acquisition of Instagram seemed like the next logical step, where the two have almost become synonymous, Instagram relying on Facebook almost exclusively to share it’s user-generated content.
Maybe this all a little shortsighted, and trying to compensate for a lack of nostalgia isn’t a uniquely contemporary phenomenon that social media facilitates. Regardless, I still just want to talk about how ahead of it’s time “The Adventures of Pete and Pete” was while someone uploads an Instagram of me having that conversation.