Dick Clark said it best, “Don’t set trends, just find out what they are and exploit them”. Setting a trend in this day in age is practically impossible because someone, somewhere, at some time in this life or the one before has already done it or seen it. Sharing uniqueness and individuality is an overexposed, overdone, and practically overrated past time. Social media and the power of sharing have given individuals the ability to make individuality a commonality. The rise of television talent shows, the rule of Lady Gaga, and the roar of Gleeks all around the world have made the action of freeing your true unique self to the world, with no shame and no doubt, a trend.
I believe the technical term for trending is “Diffusion of Innovations”. It is a theory that seeks to explain how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread through cultures. This theory and its connection with new trends fascinate me because I believe it is currently undergoing mass production chaos. Via YouTube, the amount of unique people uploading unique videos about unique ideas is so vast that it makes it harder and harder to find uniqueness. Unique videos must compete for viewer ratings and view counts day in and day out. Truly epic and quality uniqueness can be easily overlooked, forgotten, and outshined by an Epic Meal Time meat cereal or a double rainbow spotting. The diffusion process of innovations has sped up into fast forward mode with our beloved social media means. We churn out innovations and expose them to the world at lightning fast mouse clicks through facebook, twitter, and youtube uploading. We adopt innovations within days, if not hours of viewing. We reach a point of critical mass (when the trended video is at its peak view count) that only lasts shortly until another innovation overtakes its popularity. A popular song becomes overplayed and is considered overdone within weeks. The shelf life of a trend nowadays is becoming shorter and shorter that the motivation to start a trend is compromised, and the feat of rising into a trend has been tainted through the process of over-delivering quantity over quality uniqueness. My suggestion:
“Don’t follow trends, start trends.” … should in fact be, “Don’t follow trends, REstart trends”.
REcyle, REuse, REduce, and REstart.
Let’s be mindful of our social media output and refrain from excess, unnecessary garbage status updates, let’s control our trigger-finger happy mouse clicking ‘like’ habits, let’s churn out quality uploads and share quality links, let’s put into practice our environmentally friendly law of recycling, reusing, and reducing as it pertains to online trends so that we can rid the world wide web of time wasting waste.
To take my viewpoint to an applicable example, I have taken it upon myself to restart a trend … my haircut. Along with Channing Tatum in the movie Magic Mike, I am re-trending the head-shave with a tight fade. My friend Ryan encouraged me to “BE BOLD” and just go for it, as he had done it himself hours before, so I went for it with no regrets. Guys, let’s move away from the Mad Men 50’s hairstyle, BE BOLD, and bring back the Justin Timberlake / David Beckham head shave trend of 2010, and be as fashionably functional as Mr. Tatum.
Let’s take trending back to its natural process and not force it. Let’s make trending unique, quality, and exceptional ideas, a process that nurtures ideas that evolve into classics for the future.