#Blaugust2016: Trends

In this permanently connected world we live in, new trends are an almost daily occurrence. I don’t regularly read news papers or magazines in digital or other form and I’ve not had a TV in 15 years – but I still experience trends through my different geek channels and selected social media and they can be as obnoxiously suffocating there as ginger tea and Aloe Vera in the hipster wellness world.

I have an uneasy relationship with trends as a social phenomena. I like to follow and trust my friends’ recommendations and “hypes” as much as the next person, particularly when they seem to be a natural fit. Whenever something or rather a product develops into an unavoidable mainstream icon however, my aversion increases and I loose interest fast. I don’t know if that’s just inverted snobbery, my general suspicion of crowd behavior or appreciation for niches (I am an MMORPG player after all) but it ends with me temporarily withdrawing from things and people that are very intrusive.

Naturally not all trends or novelty products are objectively bad. It took years of persuasion before I gave twitter a go and I readily admit it’s been a great addition to my blogging ever since. I was happy to explore it on my own after the initial hype had died down though, without the collective force of the internet shouting “how to do it best” from every corner.

Pokémon Go is ablaze like that right now and while it’s too reductive to be my kind of game for one, I can see why it’s so successful. And then I think of last night when we took a late countryside stroll with our neighbors and the dog, under a breathtaking sky with the sound of crickets all around and how the neighbor’s smartphone display suddenly pierced the night and he started rubbing his phone to catch a GOLBAT that was sat on a 750 years memorial stone….and that’s exactly why I won’t play Pokémon Go.

gaming trends gone wrong

Suddenly even graveyards are fun… (usnews.com)

I keep the majority of my gaming purposefully on PC and I don’t want it to invade every part of my daily life. If I consider that, no hype around this title can sway me. That said, I’m sure Pokémon Go is amazing to a younger generation than me, less spoiled and tired with gaming trends and fads. Whether it truly brings people together or gets them to go out and “see the world” well, that’s for others to answer. I prefer catching real trains for that rather than the proverbial bandwagon although, maybe not to Oxford just now.

How do you deal with the constant stream of new trends in your social and online environment? Do you readily join the fray, apply certain rules for yourself or stay the hell away from anything that becomes overly popular?

12 comments

  1. Well, first of all I’m a lifelong hipster from way before hipsters were a thing. I love finding things before they get found and being ahead of the curve. Doesn’t happen much these days – mostly I discover amazing, obscure new bands only to find out they split up in 2004. About the only field where I am still genuinely avant-trend is contemporary fiction and that’s because I get loads of books six months to a year before they’re published – the only real perk of being a bookseller in my opinion.

    Once things have become trendy, though, i deal with them on a case-by-case basis. I’d rarely refuse to engage with something just because it was what everyone else was doing but I wouldn’t let over-popularity put me off something i might enjoy, either. It gets easier the older you get.

    1. To correct that final sentence, it should read “I’d rarely engage” not “refuse to engage”.

      I’d have edited the comment but I get this message when I try: “You cannot edit a comment after other comments have been posted.”

      1. Hmmm weird, was your second comment already there? It doesn’t let you edit comments that have replies but otherwise, you have 20mins – or should have. ah well :)

        Its true that age makes a lot of things easier. Huge popularity shouldn’t deter you from making your own judgement but I guess I have a suspicious nature when it comes to “what everybody likes”. It isn’t always a problem of course but some stuff is more unnerving than other stuff (a popular movie is one thing, Pokemon in my face everywhere is another).

  2. The old fart flowchart goes something like this:

    1. “Does this interest me?”
    a) Yes – go to question 2.
    b) No – ignore.

    2. “Can I afford the time and money to do it?”
    a) Yes – go to question 3.
    b) No – wait/put off till resources allow.

    3. “Do I want to do it?”
    a) Yes – full steam ahead, do it.
    b) No – why are we still brooding about it then?

    I) “Are other people also doing it?” is a side branch that works as follows:
    a) Yes – go to II) if you want in, go to III) if not
    b) No – go to III)

    II) “Was I doing it first?”
    a) Yes – smirk with glee that one’s interest has reached mainstream popularity and fail to hide a grin at geek world domination.
    b) No – join right in and use the excuse, “everyone else is doing it too” as convenient

    III) Nothing new. Use advancing age or niche interest eccentricity as a convenient bludgeon for non-trend followingness.

    Trends generally only serve to bring to my attention things that I may not have realized were happening. Whether I choose to do them or not has very little correlation with other people are doing. I skipped Everquest, World of Warcraft, Facebook, Farmville, Twitter, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Star Wars, etc. I happily bandwagoned onto Lord of the Rings, Minecraft, Terraria, Stardew Valley, Pokemon Go, etc.

    1. Yeah it’s the same for me honestly, I skip half the trends but if I like something, I just do it. Few things inspire my ire tho, like Pokemons :P

      And I believe you just described ol’ Bhagpuss! haha –
      a) Yes – smirk with glee that one’s interest has reached mainstream popularity and fail to hide a grin at geek world domination.

  3. After visiting a hilltop church one evening in Eichstätt, I was walking down a familiar dirt path. Fireflies flickered into view in the evening cool. They were visible for a few minutes and then vanished. I didn’t catch any of them.

    Your silly neighbor should turn his game off on magical walks. Perhaps the city might apply to have that particular place exempted from Pokemon visits.

    1. Oh I agree completely. :) It’s worrying when gaming has to permeate everything imo, I mean yay for escapism and all that but if you’re actually having a great time outdoors, leave the devices alone sometime…

  4. I find, as you said, I have a general suspicion of crowd behavior. The more popular something gets, the more I find myself questioning why. But some things, if the barrier of entry is small enough, I’ll try out. For Pokemon Go, I won’t lie, I liked it. It gave us a fun reason to go out for more walks. Is it for me, though? No, I don’t have the time or the dedication to play it for any reason beside just collecting critters, but for what it is, I think it’s alright.

    But for the most part, I ignore trends and fads. However, if something has the staying power to hang around, especially after other fads have come and gone, then I’ll consider it. Right now the fad is No Man’s Sky. And yeah, I’m definitely waiting on that one… let’s see if No Man’s Sky is still a thing 3 months from now.

    1. I’m gonna play NMS for sure, although probably not right away. But there it’s not a trend for me so much as actually the kind of game and genre I endorse and love a lot – I can’t help if that suddenly gets so popular. ;) I mean, it’s good for games to get that much attention, right? But it can get on your nerves, too.

  5. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell [q.v.] is an interesting-to-me discussion of fads and trends. It’s not just games.

  6. I’m reminded of that dorky Star Trek TNG episode where everyone gets addicted to some new computer game and becomes brain-washed into working for certain aliens. Just waiting for the alien invaders to show up any day now… :P

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available