Forget the gadgets. What’s trending in 2018 for culture?
This article is letter (T) of our “Culture” series where we write an article for each letter of the phrase. “Culture” examines how digital influences culture. Find links to more articles in the series below.
We’ve covered cool gadget trends for 2018 like brain-to-brain networks, digital signage, and virtual reality. But today, let’s look at the macro picture and check out what cultural trends are ruling the schoolyard. The ideas for the technology and gadgets we create have to come from somewhere. And that somewhere are the trending culture mindsets for 2018.
In the age of TMI (Too Much Information), TMC (Too Much Choice), and TMT (Too Much Technology), people are looking for what’s real in a world of multiple truths.
We’ve mentioned it before how human trust is becoming increasingly more important in a digital world. And signs point to it again and again – people crave authenticity. Which explains the rising popularity of Influencers, popular internet personalities that cultivate a community of followers through online trust.
How do they gain that trust? By regularly publishing relevant, authentic content for their audience. The number prove it. 63% of Gen Z prefer to see a social media influencer in advertisements (only 37% prefer traditional celebrities).
It may seem counter-intuitive for something so immaterial to be trending. This may be a push-back from the motto of materialism. And while the adage “Money can’t buy happiness” has been around for a while, it seems it’s now just seeping in. NowAndNext describes the collective awakening like this:
“People are also starting to realize that identity is not shaped by what you own or consume but by who you are and how you live. To some extent the happiness phenomenon is really a search for meaning.”
The search for meaning really means a search for authentic meaning in our TMI, TMC, and TMT world. This insight also aligns with what we’ve previously pointed out – self-actualization is the new luxury.
There’s a downside to all this focus on happiness and authenticity. People are usually searching and yearning for what they don’t have.
According to MindShare’s Culture Vulture Trends Report: 2018, anxieties of everyday life are harder to manage with 67% of respondents saying they find the world increasingly complex (a jump from 56% in 2012).
People use their access to endless content to for a temporary escape. 63% agree with the statement “I use content to take my mind off negative things going on in the world.”
Bonus: Enduring Trend – Technologies of Connection
Facebook is one of the highest trafficked websites ever. Mobile phone users are in the millions. We are never offline. Technologies which connect us are growing rapidly. Interestingly, technologies of connection supplement, extend, and reinforce our embodied relationships. Look at your Facebook friends. Scroll through your cellphone contacts. A majority of them you’ve met in-person. It’s like humanity has grown an “electromagnetic nervous system.”
Cultural trends show us the collective mindset of today and the future. We see it as a positive that people are moving towards the direction of authenticity, happiness, and connection. But if we fall-short on technologies’ promise to deliver those, people may just fall more into escapism. What cultural trends are on your list?
This article is part of our “Culture” series where we write an article for each letter of the phrase. “Culture” examines how digital influences culture.
Click below to read more articles in the “Culture” series: