Bietti, L. M. & Mayor, E. (2023). A longitudinal study of conversational remembering in WhatsApp group messages before, during, and after COVID-19 lockdown. Memory, Mind & Media, 2, E5. https://doi.org/10.1017/mem.2023.5.
Abstract. Conversational remembering entails that people engage in recalling past experiences, which may themselves have been shared. Conversational remembering comes with social benefits for the person telling the narrative and the one receiving it (e.g., developing and strengthening friendships, fostering entertainment, and consolidating group identity). COVID-19 lockdowns have significantly affected social interaction, including face-to-face interactions where conversational remembering occurs. The aim of this study was to explore how WhatsApp group messages supported conversational remembering in a large group of friends living in Buenos Aires where a complete lockdown was established between 19 March 2020 and 6 November 2020. To accomplish such aim, we conducted a mixed-methods longitudinal study. The data consisted of 32,810 WhatsApp group messages collected over a period of 700 consecutive days, from 13 April 2019 to 13 March 2021. Our study shows that WhatsApp group messages enabled group members to keep connected during the COVID-19 lockdown period. This occurred by remembering together situations, events, and actions associated with the group's identity. The use of WhatsApp group messages may have represented an adaptive collective behaviour in response to changes in global social norms.