Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The End of Trends?

The internet has encouraged people to become fascinated with trends. There is Google Trends, Trend Hunter, Trendland, Sportrends, what is trending on Twitter, trends in the economy...

Linton Weeks for NPR writes an excellent essay about their proliferation. "The Trend — its spotting, its tracking, its examination — has become omnipresent in contemporary culture. And if there is one thing that watching trends has taught us, it's that at precisely the point at which something becomes ubiquitous, that something is no longer a trend."

Weeks distinguishes between a trend which is something gaining momentum, and a fad which is a short term interest or way of being.

He suggests that society has changed and become more diversified, "The Internet has so fractured us globally that we no longer are looking for mass-culture experiences. So major trends have become splintered mini-trends — which are not really trends at all."

Consequently "with the decline in trends comes a decline in the notion of there being such a thing as pop culture. Marketing companies can no longer take advantage of trends. So maybe the last trend we will see is a trend toward a Trendless World — full of surprise and originality."

Sounds like an endorsement and celebration of individuality and creativity over a society less brainwashed by the mass media?