It feels like every day a new trend emerges, pushing the masses from one direction to another and sparking an epic social media reaction. So how do you distinguish the fads that changed our lives from the ones that barely made an impression?
You go to social researcher Mark McCrindle, who used three broad criteria to select the top 13 social trends of 2013. It had to be big, it had to have impact in Australia and it had to be social. Using focus groups, social media and statistics, McCrindle Research came up with this list of the year’s most influential phenomena.
Food Trend of the Year: FroYo
Otherwise known as frozen yoghurt, FroYo is the health-conscious foodie’s special treat. As sweet as ice cream without the calories and with endless options for toppings, this frozen sweet hit the big time this year with franchises like Igloo Zoo, Crave Australia, Moochi, Noggi and Yogurberry spreading like wildfire. It helps that the majority of FroYo outlets are self-serve, allowing for self-monitoring.
Word of the Year: Selfie
Selfies have been around for a while, but never have they had such a broad fanbase. Celebrities, the elderly, politicians and even Beyonce partake in the narcissistic pastime whenever they get the chance. The Oxford Dictionary this year coined “selfie” as the word of the year. The selfie also has Aussie roots – it can first be traced back to a comment made on an Australian internet forum from 2002.
Attitude of the Year: Swag
Popularised by Justin Bieber, this slang term (derived from “swagger”) describes a certain brand of cool attained by someone who exudes confidence, arrogance and effortless influence. Similarly, the term “boss” is also used as a label for someone or something particularly awesome.
Pop Star of the Year: Lorde
Only 16 years old when she first hit the scene, the talented teen from New Zealand stole the show with her hit single “Royals”. Her wise-beyond-her-years lyrics and kooky hand movements made her unique, and a refreshing break from the pop stars of late. Her debut album Pure Heroine rose to the top of the US, UK, and the Australian iTunes charts. Lorde’s first Australian show at July’s Splendour in the Grass in Byron Bay drew a crowd of 10,000 people, followed by an extensive sold-out tour across the nation in October this year.
Social Media Site of the Year: Vine
Launched on January 24th this year, the video app allows users to share six-second clips. You’d be surprised how creative people can get (some of the best entries are in the “Ryan Gosling won’t eat his cereal” series – be sure to check them out.) Its popularity was only heightened with the introduction of the “Best Vines” Facebook page which now has over 18 million likes. Vine topped the iOs App Store for most downloaded app on April 9th and within six months of its release had generated a following of 40 million users.
Meme of the Year: Harlem Shake
The Harlem Shake was a viral video phenomenon started by a Youtube comedy sketch uploaded in February. The sketch showed a group of people dancing like crazy to the electronic song by Baauer, descending into madness at the bass drop. All around the world, people began posting variations of the dance – the crazier the better. By February 15, 40,000 Harlem Shake videos had been uploaded online, totaling 75 million views with a global following.
Viral Campaign of the Year: ‘Dumb Ways to Die’
A brilliant three minute video created by Melbourne’s Metro Trains to deter people from engaging in unsafe behaviour around trains. A ridiculously infectious song accompanies the film, which features adorable animated characters dying because of their own stupid choices. It received 4.7 million views within three days.
Social Trend of the Year: Shared Spaces
Taking the concept of neighbourly love to the next level, this year has seen a rise in co-working and co-living spaces. Community-oriented shared workspaces are now available for day use or monthly membership across Australia’s capital cities, featuring inspiring work spaces in which entrepreneurs and creative professionals can collaborate on projects with like-minded people. Travel has also become more communal than ever with the introduction of sites like AirBnB and CouchSurfing, allowing you to lodge short-term with strangers.
Media Event of the Year: The Birth of Prince George
With photographers and journalists camped outsite the hospital for weeks in advance, this was undeniably the media event of the year. Little Prince George, son of Prince William and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, stopped a nation and, arguably, the globe when he made his swaddled debut. Analytics reported that 5% of global news consumption across 100,000 news sites was related to the royal birth on 22 July 2013.
Fad of the Year: Onesie
When Miley Cyrus twerked in a onesie, the internet exploded. People were scrambling to get their hands on the adult jumpsuits, often made to look like an animal or character. Japanese label Kigu was the first mass importer of onesies in Australia, with mainstream fashion labels ASOS and Urban Outfitters soon catching on to the trend. Now, it’s not uncommon to see onesie-clad gen Y’s stalking the streets in their comfy get-ups.
Fashion Trend of the Year: Sportswear as Street Fashion
Why limit lycra to the gym? Brands like Lulu Lemon and Nike made sportswear so stylish it became a crime to merely sweat in it and ditch it. Fitness freaks (especially women) are increasingly proud – and willing to pay big bucks – to be spotted in high-tech gear that has become an emblem of success and vitality.
Shopping Trend of the Year: Save, Save, Save
In an attempt to be savvy, online shopping and bulk buying became the purchase method of choice for Australians. Coupon clipping also increased and wholesale retailers like Costco cropped up in NSW, ACT and Victoria to great fanfare. Value for money and the cost-of-living are evidently still front-of-mind for the average Aussie.
Technology Trend of the Year: Kinaesthetic Devices
If it doesn’t have a touch-screen, fingerprint recognition or eye tracking, it’s not as exciting. With the release of movement-monitoring devices like the Xbox One, gesture-controlled mouses and Apple’s Touch ID technology, we are increasingly becoming one with our tech devices.