It’s inherent that we keep up with today’s trends if we want to stay relevant with the times. But often the latest trends turn out to be just fads. It has been that way for ages now. The 70s had bell bottoms and disco, the 80s had neon colors and mesh tops, the 90s had chain wallets and Hootie and the Blowfish (although I’m a diehard Hootie fan) and today we have cringe-worthy crocs and the evolution of YOLO as reminders of how quickly something can go from being cool to being socially irrelevant.
Our habits are taking a similar turn, as movies and TV are being trumped by the internet, mainly by social media. It’s only a matter of time, however, before certain social media platforms are either trumped by the competition or a new, trendy social breakthrough.
Facebook is signing up less people per day. Twitter is beginning to plateau in sign ups and the “new age” social media platforms (Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, etc.) are making it more difficult for these websites to reel in new people to join. It has gotten to the point that having a Facebook page, while not a social death sentence, puts you behind the times if you don’t have another account on another social media platform, especially among people ages 18-24. Many of my friends who post pictures to Facebook do so through Instagram and those who write posts can do so through Twitter, so while having more than one social media account that serves the same purpose may not be practical, it’s simply what’s “hot” right now. Who knows? We could wake up tomorrow and find that we don’t need Twitter or Instagram either if we can connect in a newer way.
We love and crave new technology. We love social revolution. It helps define our culture and defines who we are as internet users. It has been a long time since Facebook and Twitter were considered new and in five years Instagram won’t seem new either. When people realize that their favorite way to connect isn’t the “cool” one anymore, they will cease using it, if their social presence matters to them. That’s when social platforms fall into the fad category and can, therefore, be easily dismissed. Unfortunately, with this fad mentality, our perceptions have gone from how we see our friends on social media to how we see ourselves.