Jeremy explores many topics as he juggles his passion for writing with his career as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Founded in 2004, Facebook has become the most widely-used social media site of all time. It's earned millions of dollars, acquired Instagram, and somehow still lacks a dislike button.
But gripes aside, Facebook connects people with long-lost friends, allowing us to keep up with each other's lives even when we don't have the time to hang out anymore. Nonetheless, for every person reconnecting, there's someone following the latest insane fad. Here's a history for six of Facebook's most (in)famous trends!
Sarahah, the most recent of today's trends; heck, it's still going strong as I write this in August of 2017 (feel old, future self). A website that's actually been around for awhile, Sarahah recently exploded in popularity here in the States.
The site allows users to create an account, share its link, and receive anonymous feedback of what people really think about them. This works well for businesses, too. Maybe your friend doesn't shower enough, or always talks about her exes; here's a discreet way to let her know. Just be aware you'll likely receive some crude, nonsensical, and downright unkind messages in addition to the support and constructive criticism.
Did It Last?
Time will tell. Like the Pokemon Go craze, I suspect this app will gather many users for a month or so, then rapidly dwindle.
George Bush Ice Bucket Challenge
5. Ice Bucket Challenge
Back in 2014, Facebook exploded with videos "of ice bucket challenges" wherein people would pour freezing water over their head to raise awareness of the ALS disease. Many would ask various friends to also perform the challenge within 24 hours; failure meant donating to a charity. Some criticize the fad as more of a social game than an actual awareness measure; others cite the increased donations to ALS organizations as a sign of success.
Did It Last?
The Ice Bucket craze has ended, but it inspired spiritual successors that continuously arise. For example, the mannequin challenge or planking.
4. Why, Wassup?
Around 2010, "why, wassup" messages ran rampant across social media. To write one, you essentially post on your friend's wall as if describing them to someone else, and end your message with the classic phrase. For example, "Jeremy Gill? Most handsome and talented internet writer of all time? Not at all conceited? Yea I know him, why, wassup?"
Did It Last?
Not really, but once in a blue moon you'll encounter a new wassup post.
You likely remember these comics. Bitstrips are concise, customizable cartoons users craft depicting them and their friends in various routines. Many enjoy the semi-realistic yet silly art style, and the fad really hit its stride in 2013.
Did It Last?
Like all trends, the Bitstrip phenomenon has steadily died out. That said, social behemoth Snapchat acquired it (and its spin-off sticker app, Bitmoji), so you'll likely still encounter a few comics occasionally.
An on-and-off craze especially popular in the earlier days of Facebook, poking made it easy to interact with people without having to put effort into an actual conversation. You poke your friends, they receive a notification, and then poke you back, creating an eternal cycle of soulless nudges.
What does a poke actually mean? No one knows; Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg states "People interpret the poke in many different ways, and we encourage you to come up with your own meanings."
Here are my best guesses:
- I like you.
- I hate you, but I can't declare it publicly.
- I want to talk, but I'm incapable of conversation.
- I'm a Facebook parent desperately trying to blend in.
Did It Last?
More so than any other hype, poking remains a commonly used feature of Facebook.
For anyone using Facebook around 2010, you... you know. I don't need to recall the horrors to you. But for newer users, let me explain.
For several years after its launch in 2010, Zynga's mobile game Farmville dominated Facebook. It's one of those "recharging energy" games where you have a limited amount of resources that gradually replenish in real-time, a tactic to ensure continuous logins. That's fine, but Farmville let you request aid from friends, and boy were those requests rampant. There was no greater shame than asking your friends for Farmville help, the social equivalent of admitting your life has no meaning and you'll die alone.
Many of us did it anyway because, well... Hey, I'm not like the others! I only played Farmville for a girl; what's more romantic than harvesting tomatoes with a woman? Well, virtual tomatoes. In a crappy game. On Facebook. Yikes.
Did It Last?
Though not nearly as big at it once was, Farmville and its sequel games still amass thousands of players and leave behind an eternal legacy of annoying Facebook requests.
Legacy of Trends
Fads: we shun them, we criticize them, we... often participate in them. And that's okay; sometimes it's just fun to experience what others are doing because it provides common ground, allowing for more social connections.
Many people I see using Sarahah simultaneously post messages like "I caved", "It got me", or "I gave in." Hey, no need to justify or apologize for enjoying a shared experience, even if it's just some dumb craze. Unless you're still sending Farmville requests daily. You know who you are.
© 2017 Jeremy Gill
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on November 02, 2017:
Thank you! I always find writing about social media provides opportunities for humor and hope to cover more platforms in the future.
Anusha Jain from Delhi, India on November 01, 2017:
While I was aware of a few of these trends, some actually surprised me. Back when Farmville was a thing, I used to get quite annoyed with request notifications. Then I saw a song, "Facebook is a stupid idiot", and the Farmville verse of it was actually hilarious. I think you should watch that one. To think of it, I feel it was indeed romantic you played it for your lady. Haha.
I kinda feel proud after reading this article. That I wouldn't have to say "guilty as charged" for being infected by any of these trends. And I have been quite active on Facebook. Or so I like to think.
I thoroughly enjoyed your article, loved your natural wit, and am sure coming back for some more. Enjoyment, I mean. Not Farmville. Just to be clear.