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I think I need to start this Cuppa and a Chat post with making sure that it is understood that although a little controversial, no offence is meant in this post whatsoever, and Im talking about SOME people, not all. It is purely my observations, and you know me, I like to throw things I observe open to discussion. I write my Cuppa and a Chat posts for exactly that, a discussion. I like to try to understand why certain behaviours occur, and I love to hear other peoples view point and opinion, so lets jump in……
I have spoke before about how I feel the whole Instagram, blogging industry has become a little cookie cutter. Im not talking about fashion trends etc, that has been around for ever, Im talking about the “trendy opinions” and bandwagons peole jump on. It saddens me that people post things on their Instagram that they think will be popular, not what they like or are passionate about. The whole creativity and individuality has gone, replaced by a weird popularity and validation contest that people want to win. Becoming Instafamous or getting free stuff from brands seems to be the drive of a large percentage of the people that use the app now. Well this post was inspired by a few things really, and while it is not about the two very different examples I give in this post, they are the most recent that showcase the points so I will use them.
One of the things that caught my eye was an incredibly interesting post I read on a blog. The other was the craziness that has gone on over the Stacey Dooley documentary about fast fashion. These are just two examples, but we see it time and time again. The minute an opinion grows legs and takes off, the world and his sister are writing about it, or have had an epiphany about their own behaviour……until the next popular opinion rears up and its all aboard that bandwagon! I know I am not the only one to notice this..
Im not here to thrash out the points made in either of the examples Iv given. That is not what this post is about and believe me, you will be able to read a million posts on blogs about the fast fashion one in no time. Im here to talk more about the way bandwagons are jumped on in general. Id like to try to understand the drive behind it. I do think in some cases, people are genuinely moved by something they see, and they are truly propelled into action and want to make change. I also think its great that important discussions can be had when these sorts of debates blow up. However, it seems that largely, the people that commit to actually make the changes, are more often than not, the ones that just MAKE the change without having to tell a gazillion people about it. They take action, not just say words.
So lets look at the two examples I have used. The blog post I mentioned, was on Passion Passport, It was a conversation with a creator of a tongue in cheek account on Instagram, (Insta_repeat) that noticed the way a certain style of (mainly travel) photo would become popular, then before you knew it a gazillion versions of the same photo were created. We have ALL seen this in all genres, (remember the flower walls or Peggy Porshen photos everyone). He calls it the copy-cat culture, and there is not one of us that use Instagram that has not seen the trends. I mean, people actually write blog posts on “the most Instagrammable places” WTF! The post talks about how something that is usually born out of a genuine individuals creativeness, see’s some popularity, so everyone jumps on the bandwagon and tries to replicate it. In the post, the guy behind the Insta_repeat project says a great line, “Social media has become a popularity contest. Popularity has never fostered creativity” How true is that! We scroll through Instagram a little bored, because its all same old same old. Same filters, same orchestrated set ups, same themes, same fashions, same look. Why can’t people just be themselves!!! I genuinely don’t understand, and I know we had a chat about it in this post, Is Social media the new Validation tool.
Moving on to the fantastic Stacey Dooley documentary. Now, I never post about fashion, its just not something I personally find interesting to talk about on social media. With my friends and a cuppa, yes, but not daily. Thats ok isnt it. Not everyone likes the same thing! I wear clothes. I enjoy fashion, but I feel no need whatsoever to show what Im wearing every day, or to see what others are wearing. I have shopped my wardrobe for years as I tend to buy quality over quantity. Im a huge fan of the capsule wardrobe concept. I am however, very conscious that I travel quite a lot, so I need to reduce the carbon footprint that I leave behind. I watched a programme a few years ago about this, and it did propel me to make changes, to try to balance my impact on this ole planet of ours. These programmes are great for raising awareness.
However, the documentary was in my opinion, vital to try to wake people up. It was brilliant and I thought, one of the most important things that people need to become aware of. WE ARE DAMAGING OUR PLANET. If this documentary gets just a few people to be more mindful of their choices, then hala- bloody -looyah. However, the old bag cynic in me has some doubts. On just my own feed, I have seen people that post regular, and I mean daily, changing room stories or new clothes items, suddenly telling us that all their clothes they are wearing are old as they are “shopping their wardrobe”. They are suddenly trying to convince us that they rarely wear new clothes, yet are constantly in “gifted” items instead! “You know they are new clothes too yeah Hun….?? They were also in packaging to be sent to you, so probably worse in many cases!” All of a sudden these people are mindful. I have also seen an explosion of new hashtags being started, all centred around the slow fashion type thing. Again, the cynic in me might suggest that in some cases, (not all) this is a little bandwagon jumping to feather their own nest, grab a few new followers, not in fact because they are hugely passionate about change.
Going a little off tangent, something that I am sure we can all agree on is that there HAS to be change. This wonderful planet of ours is not going to be able to sustain the abuse that we are putting it through forever. As another side note, did you know, that our generation will apparently be going down in history as the most savage and destructive? More animals have become extinct in our time than in any other. Whole species of creatures just wiped out. Let that sink in for a moment…. With our materialism and insatiable appetite to have more more more, we are killing off the beauty of our world. It breaks my heart
Anyway, back to the point. I totally agree that these “popular opinions” get people talking, and that can only be a good thing. That is fantastic and serves its purpose. I just get frustrated. What I struggle with is the insincere declarations and statements. The cheap talk of how people are going to make change. How “concerned and distressed” they are about it. The band wagon is briefly jumped on, before their next “new item” is posted. These same people are the ones ramming new products and new clothes down our necks in 80% of their squares. I also know some of the people I follow are genuinely trying to make a difference. They have recognised their own reckless buying etc and are making changes. That is success!
Don’t misunderstand me, Im not immune and I know I bandwagon jumped a few weeks ago with the whole Mrs Hinch thing. She has gone to over a million followers in just 3 months! People are constantly tagging her, using her hashtags, repeating her catch phrases. Iv even seen people talking in her accent as they are cleaning! Its madness! For about 3 days I was writing shopping lists of cleaning stuff I needed to buy. Then I came to my senses! Yes, I love her cleaning tips, and have introduced quite a few of them, but I do not need four different chemicals poured down the same toilet to make it clean! I jumped back off the wagon, and I will stick to my eco-friendly brands. I did get swept away for a day or two though!
So, my question is, and I appreciate I could come across as a cynical old bag at this point, (you know me, always honest with my view) do you think people genuinely believe their own words, (yet slip back into old habits quickly) Or, do you think that they just see something with a bit of traction and think they can grab a few followers by seen to be having that opinion? I value your honesty. I know, with absolute certainty, that some people do jump on for their own gain. You see it in their past performances of known tactics used for gain. We are none of us idiots and trust me, I am far too long in the tooth and experienced in business to not see these tactics for what they are! But the bandwagon jumping seems to have reached new heights! Lets discuss it. What do you think? Have you jumped on any bandwagons, and was it because you felt moved to take action? Do you agree with me that it has reached new heights? Id love to hear your views, lets discuss!