As we journey into the digital age, we are met with many social media trends – some innovative and engaging, others best left in the rearview mirror of our online journey. These trends can shape conversations, influence behavior, and sometimes even drive cultural change.
However, not all trends have earned their place in the continuation of our collective digital narrative. This piece highlights 20 social media trends that need to retire quietly to improve our online discourse and interactions.
Critiquing Strangers Based on Their Fashion Choices
A social media trend that needs to be put to rest is the unsolicited criticism of strangers based on their fashion choices. This practice is not only invasive and uncalled for, but it also fosters a culture of body shaming and negativity.
The Never-Ending Political Debate
The never-ending political debate is one social media trend that has overstayed its welcome. Initially designed for pleasant interactions and sharing positive life updates, social media platforms have morphed into hotbeds of intense political arguments. The result is a constant stream of politically charged posts and comments, often brimming with negativity and hostility.
Overuse of Hashtags
While initially intended to categorize content and make it discoverable, the inundation of hashtags in social media posts has spiraled out of control. Users often cram their posts with irrelevant or overly specific tags in a misguided attempt at boosting visibility. However, this practice only serves to clutter the content, making it cumbersome to read and often deterring potential engagement.
Dining With Jay Z
Originating from a hypothetical scenario where users were asked to choose between having dinner with the famous rapper Jay Z or taking $500,000, this social media trend swept across platforms like wildfire. While the trend’s appeal was simple, it often lacked depth and did little to foster meaningful discussion. Instead, it fueled endless debates and polarized online communities, highlighting the pitfalls of viral trends prioritizing shock value over substance.
Front Seat Fiasco: The Battle for the Best Spot
This social media trend has been perpetuated through countless comedy sketches and pranks, with individuals bickering over who gets the ‘honor’ of the front seat. While it may have been amusing in the early days, this trend has become repetitive and uninspiring, adding little value to social media feeds.
Spread of False Information
The spread of false information on social media platforms is a troubling trend that requires urgent attention. This phenomenon, often called “fake news,” can potentially manipulate public opinion, incite fear, and disrupt democracies. This trend poses a significant challenge to the integrity and reliability of information exchange on these platforms, necessitating concerted efforts from both users and platform providers to combat its spread.
Excessive Photo Editing
Excessive photo editing is a social media trend that must be curbed. The constant flood of overly airbrushed, impossibly perfect images sets unrealistic expectations and fuels the culture of comparison and body image dissatisfaction. While there’s nothing wrong with retouching, the problem arises when the line between reality and digital alteration blurs, misleading followers and promoting a false representation of reality.
Chain messages, which typically increase through platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, are one trend that should be consigned to the digital dustbin. Chain messages clutter up our inboxes and feeds and pose a more severe threat by potentially spreading malware or phishing scams, thus compromising the security of users’ data.
Sharing Too Much Information
Sharing too much information, often referred to as TMI, is a social media trend that seriously needs to take a backseat. While social media platforms are designed for users to express themselves and share pieces of their lives, there is a fine line between sharing and oversharing. Excessive sharing can lead to privacy issues, potential security risks, and a diluted personal brand.
While it might seem like a quick way to enhance online presence, it’s a hollow tactic that ultimately undermines the authenticity of a profile. Many platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are advancing efforts to identify and remove these fake followers, reinforcing that engagement, credibility, and organic growth are the cornerstones of a genuine and influential online presence.
Buying followers only distorts these metrics, and users should instead focus their energy and resources on creating quality content that naturally attracts and retains a dedicated following.
Follow for Follow
This practice, common across various platforms, involves users following each other solely to increase their follower count rather than because of genuine interest in shared content.
Not only does this trend distort the purpose of social media, which is to foster genuine connections and shared interests, but it also distorts engagement metrics. These inflated follower counts lead to inaccuracies in data analysis, making it harder for businesses and influencers to understand their true reach and impact.
Memes That Mock or Ridicule Others
Memes that mock or ridicule others are a trend that should be left behind. While they may seem amusing, these memes often contribute to a culture of mockery, bullying, and negativity online. Using humor should not be an excuse to demean or belittle others. Instead, social media should be a place for positive, constructive interaction.
Posting Ambiguous or Cryptic Messages
One particularly frustrating trend that needs to disappear from our social media feeds is the practice of posting ambiguous or cryptic messages. This trend, often described as “Vaguebooking,” involves posting a deliberately vague or elusive status update to elicit attention and elicit followers’ reactions or responses. This clickbait-style tactic confuses and misleads readers and contributes to the proliferation of online misinformation.
Deception in the Realm of Influencers
With their large follower counts, social media influencers often hold significant sway over their audience’s purchasing decisions and behaviors. Unfortunately, some influencers exploit this power, endorsing products they’ve never used or promoting lifestyles far from their realities. This deception misleads followers and skews the authenticity and trust that should be integral to the influencer-follower relationship.
The Art of Subtweeting
Subtweeting, a social media trend that has taken over Twitter, involves commenting on or criticizing a particular person without directly mentioning their name or handle. While it can sometimes serve as coded communication or an inside joke between friends, it’s often used negatively, leading to cryptic, passive-aggressive exchanges. This trend promotes indirect discourse and often results in misunderstandings or unnecessary drama.
Automated Direct Messages
Automated Direct Messages, often used on platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn, have become a controversial trend in social media. These messages, intended to streamline interactions and save time, often become impersonal and spam-like, leading to a negative user experience.
They lack the personal touch of genuine interaction and, as a result, often fail to engage the audience or drive meaningful conversations. While potentially beneficial when used sparingly and with a thoughtful approach, this practice has unfortunately been overused and misused, leading to its reputation as a nuisance.
Multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes
Multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes have proliferated across social media platforms, promising quick wealth and financial independence. Though these schemes often project an appealing façade of entrepreneurship, they routinely result in financial loss for most participants. Their recruiting-focused structure necessitates a never-ending influx of new members to sustain profits, making them inherently unstable, often leading to their eventual downfall.
Spamming is a ubiquitous trend that needs immediate retirement. In the quest for visibility and engagement, some brands and influencers resort to this vexing practice, flooding social media platforms with excessive, irrelevant, or unsolicited messages.
This social media trend disrupts the user experience and damages the sender’s reputation, leading to dwindling followers and lost credibility.
Random check-ins on social media, a trend that has gained traction over the past few years, have become tedious and invasive. This practice involves users incessantly updating their location on platforms like Facebook or Instagram, regardless of the relevance or interest to their followers.
While it was initially seen as a fun way to share one’s experiences and whereabouts, it has since become overdone, contributing to an unnecessary overflow of information online. Beyond the annoyance, privacy concerns are associated with sharing your location publicly, making it a trend that we’d be better off without.
The overuse of clickbait and sensationalist headlines on social media, designed to drive clicks but often lacking in substance, is a trend that should be laid to rest. These “catchy” headlines may momentarily attract attention, but they erode the audience’s trust over time. Users increasingly seek authentic, meaningful content, and these deceptive headlines can harm a brand’s image.
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