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10 Fads & Trends Catapulted by the Media

Who’s heard of Fidget Spinners? If you haven’t, then at the rate the stress-reliever turned viral toy is circulating the internet, you soon will. The beauty of the web is that it can foster immediate and extensive hype for a subject, yet on the flip side, as quickly as it comes it can disappear as something else new and shiny grasps the attention of web-surfers worldwide. Let’s have a look at 10 of the crazy, silly, powerful, or society-changing trends that the internet has propelled.

1. Fidget spinners

The newest sensation, these handheld toys will spin for minutes on end thanks to the ball-bearing mechanics. They’re ranging anywhere from $1 to $30+ and have increased in popularity largely thanks to their novelty. A Youtube search brings up 2,460,000 results, while social media certainly has fast-tracked recognition. But like previous fads, some take it too far, resulting in injuries. The toy has already been banned in some Australian schools after a young boy “nearly lost an eye”.

2. Planking

Ah yes, planking. What started as a simple gag, quickly evolved into a internet competition. Plankers eventually sought high-risk locations, then uploaded photos or videos online to show off their dangerous accomplishments. If it wasn’t danger, it was humour at the expense of others, planking to out-plank other plankers. It became a sensation on platforms like Youtube and Vine and captured attention of young people worldwide, until of course, it didn’t. Unfortunately, people died planking.

3. Selfies

Oh what a glorious world we live in today. Was that sarcastic? I don't know either… We’ve put Kodak and countless other photo developing companies out of business. The advent of smartphones and in turn, a permanent camera in our pocket, gave birth to Oxford’s 2013 ‘Word of the Year’, Selfies. The Duckface, the ‘oh I didn’t see you there’, the Peace and Pout, the Double-Chin, we’ve all done it. Remember the 2014 mega-selfie at the Oscars that almost broke the internet? This fad has and will stick around for a lot long longer than the previous two, but it will fade. As technology continues to take leaps, soon there may not even be handheld devices. But then how will you know if you’re hair is on point? A mirror, perhaps?

4. Gangnam Style

This one’s a crowd favourite. As the first Youtube video in history to reach a billion views, PSY’s Gangnam Style turned a music video into a dance revolution. Hitting it’s peak in 2012, the funky moves were mirrored at high school proms, parties and featured on countless dance floors. His 2015 hit ‘Daddy’, while popular, didn’t nearly receive the same reception as the groundbreaking Gangnam Style.

5. Emoji’s

Another featured Oxford ‘Word of the Year’, controversially, is ‘😂’ . 2015 witnessed the first ever pictograph officially recognised as a monumental part of language: the Face with Tears of Joy emoji. Most modern phones now feature emoji-enabled keyboards, but for how long? They have their upside, handy to deal with Twitter’s character limit for example. Is a reliance on emojis hindering society’s ability to spell? Why spell that 9-letter Italian pasta when I can just 🍝. Some say that Emojis can convey emotion where words can’t, do you agree, or are vocabularies simply dwindling? Regardless, Emoji’s are all but ingrained in society thanks to smartphones and media and they look to be sticking around for a while. Yet, again, for how long?

👍 🍕 👍 🍕 👍 🍕 👍 🍕 👍 🍕 👍 🍕 👍 🍕 👍 🍕 👍 🍕 👍 🍕 👍

6. Dabbing

Dabbing is thought to have begun amongst Atlanta’s hip-hop music scene. Since then it’s exploded to worldwide recognition, gaining distribution and awareness through TV and sports celebrities and spreading to kids and adults of all ages. Children are heavily influenced by what they see on TV, that’s why if you’ve been to a primary/elementary school or a kid’s birthday party recently, odds are you’ve witnessed some dabs. Tutorial videos were uploaded to Youtube, which grew in popularity. Following on, various media outlets picked up on the trend and the rest is history. It seems to me that this fad is coming up to its expiration date.

7. Latté art

Thank Instagram for this one. Millions of people constantly Insta’ their food or drink and upload it for their friends, followers and the world to see. This has forced restaurants, cafes and the like to adapt to the importance and expectation of picture-worthy presentation. I contend that this is the first feature on the list without any obvious drawbacks for society - who doesn’t love a cat outline in their coffee? This has particularly kicked off in Melbourne, Australia, where a stellar leaf or heart woven into the milk froth is the norm, while some cafes are diving in deeper, with detailed faces, animals or even rainbow lattés to appeal to the Instagram generation.

8. The Cinnamon Challenge

The Cinnamon Challenge, that’s going back a few years. It was stupid, but pretty funny. Hands up if you tried it 🙌 . It was a pretty simple food challenge - a spoonful of cinnamon, no water, less than 60 seconds to finish it. Naturally, the human body is not designed for this, which resulted in many ‘fail’ videos. The internet catapulted this challenge into a viral sensation, attempted by celebrities and many of us regular folk. Youtuber GloZell attempted a ladle-full. Her video now has over 50 million views (despite how cringeworthy it is).

9. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The internet isn’t just for memes. As quickly as it can spread a funny cat video, it can spread positivity. The Ice Bucket Challenge was one of the first viral donation campaigns. It wasn’t thought out by an advertising agency, it started with a single video shared on Facebook featuring Pete Frates pouring a bucket of icewater over his head. It caught speed as his friends did the same and shared their videos, and so on. Social media propelled this exponentially. Approximately 17 million people completed the challenge, with over $115 million raised in total. Since then, the money has helped scientists discover a new gene tied to ALS. Viral media can be pretty awesome sometimes.

10. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding has totally revolutionised the way in which products and businesses, amongst other things, are financed. Kickstarter and IndieGoGo are just a couple of the more well known brands, with industry specific platforms also floating around. Social media is a wonderful tool here to promote a product, for example. If web users see the potential in a prototype or idea, they invest. It’s made the process miles easier for inventors and entrepreneurs to be successful, and can streamline the production process for useful ideas. Crowdfunding definitely seems to be working and providing opportunity, so let’s hope it sticks around.

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