Social Media made me do it! A look into how trends influence us

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Since childhood, I was always told to stand out from the crowd and be my unique self.  Mass phenomena wasn’t my thing.  While all my friends were raving about the Nintendo NES, I wanted to be different and was loyal to my Sega Master System.

As the years went on, I was finding it harder and harder to stave off the urge to follow the trend. In high school, name brand clothing became a thing in my life because all the musicians I listened to were wearing them, and I wanted to fit in amongst my friends.  I wanted to be one of the cool kids!  Now with social media, trends are all the rave, and being one of the cool kids is as simple as replicating something we’ve seen and posting it to our favourite platform.

Take for example, The Harlem Shake!

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In 2013, nobody could escape the viral video that garnered over 40,000 replica videos, with over a billion views.  Professional athletes were creating their own versions in locker rooms, late night talk show hosts were joining in on the fun, even the TV show Glee incorporated the Harlem Shake in an episode.  The viral trend catapulted Baauer’s single to #1 on the Billboard charts in the US, Australia, and New Zealand.  Not all good things came of this trend. Two Israeli soldiers were jailed after being responsible for organizing their battalion’s version while dancing around a tank, with the higher-ranking officer being stripped of his command.

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Anyone jump on the fidget spinner craze?  Yes, that was also influenced by social media.  In 2017, two high school students saw an opportunity when their schools 3D printer was not being utilized, and came up with the idea to mass produce their own version of the fidget spinner. Within 6 months of creating an Instagram account to promote their fidget spinner, they amassed $350,000 in sales, and were threatened with suspension by their high school for using school equipment to make a profit.  They later moved the operation into one of their parents’ basements and continued with their operation.

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There was also that one-time TikTok created a huge spike in demand for cherry tomatoes and feta cheese, nearly causing a shortage in the supply chain!  In 2019, a simple pasta bake recipe which called for the two ingredients went viral causing many to want to try it.  My newsfeed was inundated with friends showing how they attempted the viral recipe and raved about it.  Full disclosure, I have yet to try making it!

Photo by Lisa Fotios on

My personal favourite is the story of Nathan Apodaca, an Idaho potato processor whose truck broke down on his way to work in October of 2020.  With a skateboard in the back of his broken-down vehicle, Nathan decided to persevere and ride his board the rest of the way while listening to Dreams by Fleetwood Mac. Along with sipping his Ocean Spray cranberry juice, Nathan created a TikTok video of himself living his best life despite an unfortunate start to his day.  Unbeknownst to him, Nathan created a huge resurgence of Fleetwood Mac sales, and even had members of the band replicate his video, and reach out to him.  Ocean Spray purchased Nathan a new truck in cranberry red, and he has had over 130,000 tribute videos made.  I believe this is what Oscar Wilde meant when he said, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”

Nathan Apodaca

The common thread between all these stories is how powerful social media has become in influencing sales, shooting songs into the #1 spot, or piquing our curiosity for trying new recipes. With so much opportunity to connect with the masses, I suppose the trick is doing so without landing ourselves in jail or getting suspended from school!

What are some of your favourite viral trends? Have you tried the cherry tomato & feta pasta bake dish? Do you recommend I give it a whirl?  Leave a comment below!

Take good care,


Facebook: Check out a social media trend that landed some Israeli soldiers in jail

Twitter: Fidget spinners, skateboards and pasta, oh my! Check out these famous social media trends #trending

9 thoughts on “Social Media made me do it! A look into how trends influence us

  1. Most, if not all the viral trends I’ve tried are limited to playing with weird filters or sounds on TikTok (or giving in to join TikTok). I’ve never been on to venture to far off in experimenting with the viral trends. Occasionally I’ve stumbled across recipes, but nothing I’d say was viral – usually I see one of those recipes, find them to be overly complicated and find one much simpler. I did start making bread during the second (third?) lockdown in early 2021. So, I suppose that was a trend I jumped on, but my recipe came from a tried and reliable source – Mom. Mainly because, the recipes from the viral videos called for hours of prep, ingredients and work, and Mom’s was simpler. Honestly, I find it hard to keep up with trends, they come and go so fast, by the time I’ve discovered them, they’re a thing in the past

  2. Trends come and go as soon as they came, they are mostly quick 15 minutes of niche internet fame for some individuals, especially if their video goes viral for the trend. I find there have always been trends even before I was able to use the internet, the schoolyard was full of trending toys and card games. What makes social media different is the speed at which trends travel and how far-reaching they are as they can explode within a few hours and people from all over can take part in them. Trends come and go but they are fun to try from time to time to kill time or to be part of a community.

    • Trends are a fun way to feel like we are part of a community! Marbles were a big thing back in my young school days, and hockey cards! Trying to keep up to speed of all these social media trends can be exhausting! Maybe that’s why I’ve yet to join TikTok!

      Appreciate your comments

  3. As a parent the idea of trends is scary. I personally have not completed any of the trends. I am not one of the cool kids but I do understand that they are very powerful.
    I have seen and heard of few because I am not that cool lol and most that I have heard of are horrible and that is why I have heard of them.
    – The tide pod challenge.
    – The cinnamon challenge.
    – The toilet licking trend when COVID started.
    The last one that I mentioned was enlightening for me because the video that I saw was of a girl licking a toilet seat and then challenging people to do it as well. I heard that people where doing it and getting sick? Why was anyone accepting this challenge? Why would anyone accept any of the challenges that I listed? I honestly don’t get it.
    I later heard that the young lady that created the video did not lick a public toilet seat as she claimed. It was a private one that was just cleaned and she did it to get her 15 mins of fam. What is true? How do you know? If it doesn’t seem smart don’t do it. Do we really need to be that cool? I don’t! I hope my kids don’t because that is not actually cool. Just my thoughts!

    • Appreciate your comments! I suppose as parents we have a duty to inform our children that the vast majority of certain social media trends are for entertainment purposes only! Maybe disclaimers should be included at the start of each reel!

      Thanks for input!

  4. I have to admit that I have a difficult time keeping up with social media trends, and I believe that I have missed out on multiple popular trends. I find that I often am exposed to social media trends through younger audiences. For example, it was children who taught me the “Floss”. One trend that I came across by myself, but have yet to try, it the “Respect the drip, Karen” trend on Tik Tok. I these videos, there is a voice over as feet walk across the floor. The audio explains that the person’s stepmother does not approve of their outfit. The feet finally stop in front of a mirror, and we are shown an individual wearing an outrageous costume. The person then says, “Respect the drip, Karen”. I find these videos amusing, because the voice sounds so serious, and the outfits are usually ridiculous.

    • “Respect the drip, Karen!” I had to do a search for this as I have never seen it, and I’m a fan! Thank you for sharing! I suppose social media can play a part for keeping us young at heart, or at least connected to what the younger audiences are subscribing to!

      All the best

  5. I never liked the idea of trends now a days, however im strictly speaking about how dangerous they’ve become especially as so many young people are doing them! However the trends that are harmless and fun are great! but there is definitely a fine line.

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