Social Media Trends Our Future Kids Will Think Are Stupid
Ha! Aren’t our parents stupid? With their disco balls and their outlandish hairstyles, their Betamax videotapes and adverts about how smoking is the best! Why couldn’t they be smart like us, clever, born-in-the-eighties style people.
Part of the reason why we’re legitimately so much cooler than previous generations is that we’re able to pass on information so much more quickly than anyone, ever before. So rather than reading a magazine that tells us what’s cool this month, we can log into Twitter and see what all the cool kids are talking about this morning.
In this way we stay cutting edge and relevant the whole time, and definitely won’t end up cringing with embarrassment 13 years from now when kids born today ask:
There was a time when if you knew a good joke, you’d tell your friends. This was inefficient, so we streamlined the process. We got to the point where if we knew a good joke we would tweet it or post it on our Facebook walls so that all our friends could see it without us having to go to the trouble of repeating ourselves.
Then people started doing this. And this. And this. Whether the quote was funny, or inspirational, or deep, we just started slapping them into great big images that cluttered up everyone’s timeline and, and this is important, IN NO WAY added anything to the original quote. Then people “share” them, so that they clutter up everyone else’s timelines as well.
Now, look, I’m sorry for what I’m about to do. Like all nerds, I love George Takei, I really do. He’s funny, he’s self aware, and during the original series of Star Trek he looked better with his shirt off than Shatner could ever dream about. But it needs to be said: He is the absolute worst as this. Go to his page. Look at it. JUST LOOK AT IT! It’s like there was a landfill made only of fridge magnets and somebody crammed it into your laptop.
And one day, when your curious kid discovers your old Facebook profile (in 2025 you haven’t actually used Facebook since Friendster made a shocking surprise comeback) they’re going to scroll back all the way to 2012, look the clusterfudge of memes, giant slogans and captioned photos of politicians and wonder just what the hell you were on, and why it wasn’t as interesting as the stuff Grandpa smokes.
#Making #Jokes #That #Revolve #Around #Hashtags
In 2006 a website launched called Twitter. Twitter had many useful and admirable functions, one of which was the creation of the hash tag. By putting a # symbol before a word, or a phrase with all the spaces taken out, you could ensure that your comments entered into a wider dialogue, whether it was commenting on a sports game, a political topic or appealing to a particular fandom or social group. It also quickly turned into a gaping portal into the darkness at the centre of the human soul, with the rise of hashtags such as #Ibeatherbecause #Womenareterriblecoz and #Kickingthecrapoutofgaysiscoolcoz (some of those were made up, but I honestly couldn’t tell you which ones). And in amongst those, when you venture out of your own carefully selected list of people you follow (which, for all the power of contemporary slang, we’ve yet to come up with a decent word for) you enter a wilderness of people desperately trying to link every single trending hashtag topic to Harry Potty, or Justin Bieber and… well I just went to trending topics to check, but misogyny is still the running favourite.
But that isn’t the fault of hashtags. That’s just because human nature sucks. No, what’s going to look embarrassingly retro is when hashtags start to appear in literally any place except Twitter. It started with the joke of eerily specific hashtags – people tweeting about the ham sandwich they’re going to eat and putting #withpicklesandmustard on the end. Why did they do that? It’s not a joke. It’s just bad use of punctuation.
Then people started doing the same thing on Facebook statuses and in texts. We’re at the point now where a person might reasonably complain to you, in person, about their cruddy day at work, then finish their rant by actually saying “Hashtag first world problems”.
When that happens you’re legally allowed to kill them.
“Raising Awareness” for Charities
Do you know what the ribbon is raising awareness for? No. Of course your don’t.
Around the time I was pooing my pants, being amazed by colours and shapes, and learning about objects by putting them in my mouth, Bob Geldof launched Band Aid. It was a massive push to raise awareness of the famine in Ethiopia, while selling lots of records, the money from which would also go to Ethiopia. While debates about how much good this did and whether it changes the fact that Geldof hasn’t done a decent song since “I Don’t Like Mondays” have raged on for almost how long as I’ve been alive, you can’t deny the basic idea is sound. People don’t know about X. Make song telling them about X. If people buy song, the money goes towards making X better.
It’s a good model.
Now replace “buying the song” with “putting your favourite cartoon character as your Facebook profile picture” and replace X with “child abuse”. Here are some things that happened following this trend. Firstly- nobody gave any money to the NSPCC or other charities to prevent child abuse. Secondly- nobody who was abusing children thought “Hmm. That picture of Danger Mouse makes me think I shouldn’t do that”. Thirdly- nobody at all ever said “Hey, that person has Donatello of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles where their face normally is OH MY GOD CHILD ABUSE EXISTS!”
Yet this has so far not prevented people from convincing themselves they’re doing a good thing by “Donating a Tweet”. Social media jobs can include raising awareness and engaging with the public, but simply getting people to say “This exists” when everybody already knows it does isn’t helping anyone.
Hopefully our kids, having grown up with this stuff, will see how stupid all these things are and justly mock us to within an inch of our lives for every doing such things. Of course, by then people will be donating Brainspace for the content they upload to Dreamtube, and making some really stupid mistakes.
Chris Farnell is a freelancer writer who works with Marketing Recruitment. He’s never been involved in any stupid online trends and his future kids will definitely think he’s cool.
Post Tags: facebook, social media, social networks, status updates, tweeting, twitter