So You Want To Be Trendy?
What Is Trend Hopping?
Trend hopping is the term used to describe the act of constantly switching between the latest and greatest “big thing”.
How Do I Identify Trends?
Trends usually start off small and aren’t created to explode and go viral (some are though). You can usually spot a trend pretty easily once it blows up because everyone will either be a part of it, or talking about it.
When they are still gaining steam, you can still spot them if you are paying attention. Follow some of the big names in your interest. In the case of tech, it may be your favorite YouTubers, Twitch streamers, journalists, etc. I say pay attention to these types of people, as they usually are tied in pretty close to the activity of the culture.
If you start to notice a bunch of similar videos, articles, or ideas popping up, you may be on the verge of a new trend.
What You Stand To Gain
While your reasons for wanting to always be on the bleeding edge of tech may vary from others, the vast majority of motivations can be boiled down to a few key points.
Reason # 1: Personal Fulfillment
The vast majority of people think it is fun, and want to have the latest and greatest toy. They are the type of people who see a product and think, “Oh boy! I need to get one of those! Where? When? How? Take my money!”. I like to say that these people are in it for the “Fun Factor”.
They may have friends that share similar interests, or are a part of larger communities. For these people, the primary motivation is not the optics. It’s not about being seen with the latest and greatest thing; it’s just about having it, using it, and enjoying it. Even if no one notices.
Reason # 2: Social Status
There is a smaller subset of people that aren’t really in it for the product. The product itself is just a means to an end, and could theoretically be swapped with any other popular product and the results will stay the same. This is because those in this group of people are not primarily motivated with using or having the object to have fun, because for them that is not the fun part.
The fun part for these people is the social aspect. Put simply, they want to be the first with the new popular thing because they want others to know they have it. For many people the enjoyment of a purchase comes from a couple aspects:
An Enjoyment Breakdown
First, there’s the rush of actually buying the item that you had your sights on. As an example, think about the last time you really wanted something – let’s say it was a video game. You worked hard, saved money, and finally was able to purchase that game. Felt good right? That’s point number 1.
Point number 2 is actually using the product, and the enjoyment that stems from that. Continuing that example, you now have the video game you worked so hard for. Things are going great and it is living up to all your expectations. Sweet! You are getting hours of enjoyment from playing that game. You may even be playing together with your friends. Added bonus.
Well for people that are attempting to leverage their newfound video game as a status symbol, there is an extra step. That step is nestled right between point 1 and 2; let’s call it point 1.5. For this group, they too feel the rush of purchasing this video game from point 1. And they also feel good using the product as mentioned in point 2. However, they also get a rush from sharing their newfound purchase with those around them.
This group cares about what others think about them (this is neither a good or bad thing by the way). These people are generally more egotistical than their counterparts and often thrive with the attention of others.
As I said earlier, your reasons may not completely fit into 1 category. Your motivations may be all reason 1, all reason 2, a mix of both, or some unlisted reason altogether. I’m not attacking your choices; I just think that if you are unsure of why you feel the need to trend hop, some self reflection may prove useful.
What You Stand To Lose
Here’s the reverse to what I mentioned earlier. In the previous section, we took a look at some of the things you stood to gain from always having the latest and greatest, but here we’ll investigate some of the potential downsides.
Risk # 1: Theft
If you have nice things, you may become a target of crime. Sad to say, but some people don’t respect others, and are willing to use force to get their way. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but there is an old adage that goes a little something like this.
A man buys a brand new big screen TV. He unpacks it, he uses it, he loves it. When discarding the trash left from the packaging, he puts the box his TV came in outside with the rest of his trash. Some enterprising thief notices that the man has a new TV, and would like to own one as well. The thief then waits for a moment when the man is unaware, or unknowing, and steals the TV, claiming it for themselves. The man is sad.
Although this sounds like an old wives tale, this is a true thing that happens even today. Only now it happens with other things too. Laptops stolen right off of people’s tables, our out of people’s bags. Headphones stolen right off people’s heads. Even phones stolen right out of people’s hands.
If you are going to follow the route of always having the new hot thing, please make sure you are aware of your surroundings and are protective with your stuff.
Risk # 2: Disappointment
Hopefully this doesn’t happen to you, but there is a very real risk that the next trend you jump to is a bust. Meaning it was just a fad that doesn’t last long enough to justify the purchase. Or you thought it was going to be great, but it turned out to suck and wasn’t worth the time, effort, or money. Or maybe, you were motivated by the social aspect of it, but no one seems to care.
This can lead to depression and other mental/emotional issues. The person in turn could then turn to over-indexing on the next purchase thinking this will be the thing that turns my life around. Similar to a gambler who lost big trying to win it all back on the next bet. If left unchecked this can lead into risk 3.
Risk # 3: Financial Complications
For some people, they have a very real problem with purchasing things. Think of it like an addiction. This dependence on buying new things may serve as an attempt to fill a void in their life. I’m not here to judge, this blog isn’t here to judge, but this is a thing that affects many people.
Things To Consider
Here is a list of things that you should keep in mind if you are wondering whether or not to follow a upcoming trend:
- Why are you following this trend?
- Will this trend be around 6 months from now?
- Can you afford it?
So I Shouldn’t Keep Up With Trends?
There is nothing wrong with following trends. In fact, it can be a fun and enjoyable way to keep things fresh and interact with your passion is brand new ways. However, there are some things that you should be aware of before you decide to pull the trigger on a purchase.
Understanding your self, and your motivations can go a long way towards ensuring you have a lasting healthy relationship with both your passion and your wallet.
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