The common denominator in this trend seems to be a yearning for the “authentic.” Interestingly, things don’t need to actually be authentic as long as they feel authentic. In fact, they can be completely fake. Take Hipstamatic or Instagram, apps that let you simulate the look and feel of different types of old film photographs right in your iPhone, transforming your life as seen through Twitter and Facebook into a French new wave cinema storyboard. People have the ability to edit and broadcast their lives, and a lot of them are choosing to do so through an idealized analog retro filter in which they candidly appear as if they weren’t aware of being watched.
Perhaps a postmodernist would call this inauthentic authenticity.