Techno-Social Disruption, Autobiographical Obsolescence and Nostalgia: Why Parental Concerns about Smart Phones and Social Media Have Historical Precedents as Old as the Printed Word

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Journal of Macromarketing


Contemporary concerns that social media – and its hardware accomplice the smart phone – dumb down, socially isolate and cause addiction among users have historical precedents in earlier reactions to the Internet, television, radio, and even the printed word. Automated and interpretive analyses of thousands of comments on YouTube videos of products (Study 1) and television programs (Study 2) from the past suggest a link between concerns about the negative effects of smart phones and social media and autobiographical obsolescence, a sense that the lived past is psychologically disconnected from the present and irrelevant to the future. Ironically, having nostalgia experiences on social media may provide older consumers with a psychological remedy. Viewing and commenting on video material from the past helps them verify the reality of the lived past and establish its relevance to younger generations. Suspicion of the latest disruptive communication technology (DCT) may simply be part of this broader psychological restoration process.

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