In March 2020, society ground open day to a halt, human face-to-face interaction ceased and the world went in to a lockdown.
To some this is a moment that produced fear and anxiety of the threat to health, both physically and mentally. For others it was a time where the stresses and strains of everyday life were suddenly removed. We had no choice but to stay at home, metaphorically locked in to our houses to contain spread of the virus. With this, people began to find time to do something they may not ave done before; from a guilt-free day of boxset TV watching, learning a new instrument, to online video conferencing “pub quiz” style calls with friends and family. People kept in touch more than ever before using means of online interaction, including the world of the newest boom of social media at that time, TikTok.
3 years on and the world as returned to its new level of normal, with COVID19 still in conversation, but more of a distant past time than at the forefront of our conversations. With this we are finding a new conversation of nostalgia across social media platforms looking at the “good times” of lockdown, and reminiscing all the things we could do when we had the time available to do it.
Many people are now being seen on social media video platforms such as instagram and TikTok to look back at this era with a fond memory of the opportunity of time, communication and interaction they built online; checking in with friends and family and spending time talking to loved ones they would not have done previously. With the world going back to its new normal, online conferencing software “family catch ups” have ceased, and less “checking in” on friends due to the lack of time brought back by the commitments of face to face life and work.
We know from research that our memories are extremely malleable and different people and generations may have different interpretive memories of the COVID19 pandemic; from doctors and nurses on the frontline reflecting on the pandemic with fear, others felt a sense of silence and peace being fundamentally removed from the stressors that previous work and life may have brought on. We all experienced COVID19 together, as a collective force, but unusually quite unequal in our experiences, feelings and memories of the event.
With the newest craze of lockdown nostalgia, people are being found to reminisce the good times of lockdown, creating a source of positive memories that were creating during such a time of uncertainty. With over 3 years now since lockdown began, our memories inevitably change over time and we remember the good, the bad and the ugly in a cascade of Chinese whispers, creating a new understanding and story of our COVID19 lockdown - the nostalgia of the lockdown in, interestingly, a positive slant for society, communication, and human interaction in such an unprecedented time.