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Inside the popular “newstalgia” trend and digicam girl era: Is the noughties Facebook album dump era back? 

Posted by Abby Oldroyd in Comment

1 year ago

The Facebook album dumps have returned. As the latest newstalgia trend, social media users are bringing back sizeable photo albums and ditching the polished Instagram aesthetic in favour of raw and unedited snaps.

In the noughties, when quantity was favoured over quality, Facebook was home to casual, unedited (and almost identical) photos, leaving little to the imagination. Fast forward to 2010 and Instagram ushered in a very specific glossy aesthetic. While Instagrammers have witnessed countless eras and algorithm updates since, the photo- and video-sharing platform remains a place for highly curated content.

As Instagram quickly became the most popular app, Facebook took a backseat and was dubbed the “boomer social network” for Facebook Mums and frugal shoppers making the most of its Marketplace offers, before rebranding as Meta in 2021.

But while experts have hinted at Meta’s slow decline – with many younger users snubbing the platform in favour of Instagram and TikTok – Gen Z are slowly rediscovering the app. Despite being renowned for judging Millennial online behaviours, the digital natives are paving the way for its resurgence, starting with albums.

The app’s comeback could be attributed to Instagram’s cross-platform sharing initiative, allowing users to upload their Instagram posts and Carousel “dumps” on the social networking site. But the ongoing Y2K aesthetic rival most likely gave birth to this trend.

At the start of 2022, The Cut noted a “vibe shift” and prepared readers for an indie sleaze revival, encompassing flash photography at parties, unapologetically large photo albums and a messy “party girl” aesthetic. Harper’s Bazaar suggested this shift emphasised “authentic, genuine fun and freedom” following a year of lockdowns and restrictions.

The indie sleaze revival welcomed the return of not-so-obsolete techsessories such as flip phones and digital cameras, spurred on by digicam girls like Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Addison Rae across multiple platforms. Currently #digicam has more than 270 million views on TikTok while #digitalcamera has 482 million views and users of the short-form video app can expect to find tutorials, slideshows and unboxings from creators including Rhiannon Arthur, Molly McCrickard and Astrid (twodahloo).

With an increased desire to share candid untouched photos in bulk, Meta – now resembling its former self – seems like an obvious port of call for social media users looking to avoid the pressures of likes and followers and post freely, reminding us of why we began sharing content online to begin with.

Like most internet trends, the blurry “Facebook album dumps” will most likely die down, but now that unedited shots and nostalgic fun are no longer seen as inferior, brands can expect them to become regular visuals on social media feeds and should capitalise on a burgeoning Gen Z Meta audience.

By Abby Oldroyd, CORQ staff writer.