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Internet Nostalgia

As we previously reported, MoMA is planning to put video games in its permanent collection. Another exhibition on digital history is recently created by ad agency TBWA\NEBOKO. The Big Internet Museum is a online museum which let you know about the history of internet from ARPAnet to ICQ and Instagram. Popular games and memes are also included in the selection. Besides, there is a third-party curated section that allows visitors to submit pieces to the museum. Visitors can look back at the history of internet, and be amazed of the ever-changing relationship between us and it.

Screen shot 2012-12-27 at 12.46.49 AM

Indeed, throughout the year of 2012, we see a lot of examples that make use of the idea of internet nostalgia – 8-bit graphics and GIFs are everywhere.

For example, in April Fool’s Day this year, Google made a 8-bit version Google Map for NES. Of course it’s a joke, but it’s a good one that reminds us of the not-so-slick but fun NES generation. Toyota Canada also made a 8-bit viral video To the Moon that invokes 80s nostalgia.

Google 8-bit Map

What’s more, the 8-bit graphics has already jumped out of the screen and get on fashion and product design. For example, it’s on Rodarte x Starbucks crossover items and Japanese brand Anrealage FW2011 collection (see below).


On the other hand, GIF, the cultural meme that has been around for 25 years, hit its milestone this year. It was chosen as the word of the year by Oxford American Dictionary. And indeed we saw a revival of GIF. The early GIF used to be something rather pointless and silly, but now it becomes a sophisticated graphics. Cinemagraph is the new animated GIF created by U.S. photographers Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck. Part of it is a still picture, but part of it is moving like video. At the first glance you may think it’s a normal picture, but at the next second it comes alive. It’s almost like a picture coming from the Harry Potter newspaper.


Kenzo uses GIF to promote FW2012 collection



If you still don’t believe GIF is big this year, 2012 will actually be ended with GIF, as tumblr is going to live-GIF new year ball drop in Times Square (it live-GIFed the presidential debate too). Users will be able to reblog this memorable moment in GIF in a few days.

Do you miss those days when you don’t check FB in most of your awake time? Or when chat room is the only social media to connect? The emergence of nostalgic sentiment is a signal that digital history is long enough to be dug into and be remembered. It is also a good marketing tool to communicate with the millennial who is likely to be the most emotionally connected to this digital pastime.

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