FOMO, influence and the internet. Still high school?

social media is like highschoolRemember waay back when you were in high-school and your friend Jenny got that great jacket and suddenly you just HAD to have it? So did every other girl in class because Jenny  had influence because she was one of the cool kids. I wasn’t.  And where did she FIND that jacket? She wouldn’t tell, because then everybody would go get one and pretty soon she wouldn’t be unique. As soon as everybody got one  just like it she’d drop that jacket like a hot potato and move on to the next cool thing for us to covet.

My, how times have changed. Now Jenny gets points and discounts for telling all her sub-cool friends where to get that jacket. Sites have flourished that survive because they can offer retailers astonishingly large amounts of data about their users in return for huge discounts. Demographics and buying habits as well as social network size and connections. They know who your friends are and they’re gonna use it against your inner teenager. We are still prone to the influence of our friends and the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

Do we care? Sure, some people guard their privacy like it’s gold (and it is) but realistically there are so many ways to gather that data now it’s pretty much useless to try to retain any semblance of privacy. Maybe YOU didn’t share you bought a great scarf on NoMoreRack , picked up a cool gizmo on Fab.com or something insanely odd yet irresistible from Kickstarter and Grommet,but if your friends find out and share it with their friends your data is outed anyway.

So here we are. Back in high-school chasing all the cool things our friends have or just think about having. I have a sneaking suspicion that some of my friends post things they didn’t buy as red herrings so they can watch to see who DOES buy them and posts it on Facebook. It’s sort of a fun game actually…

Did I just buy a Blue-tooth enabled deadbolt for my house and then share it on Facebook? You bet I did. I’m a geek and proud of it. I also love window shopping through the updates I get from my friends on Facebook and other sites that  constantly message me with all the cool things I never knew I needed. Jenny just liked that deadbolt by the way, who’s the cool kid now?

I don’t buy them all, really I don’t, but I do love to see the evolution of design and disruptive innovation unfolding right before my eyes. The possibilities are hopeful and exciting don’t you think?

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