June 21, 2005

The Huckapoo-mania trend, however, is 100% legit

In my 1998 essay on trendspotting (yes, I'm linking to it again; what of it?), I wrote: "How does a trend story come to be? At Time, insiders say, the custom is for writers and editors in New York to sketch trends at editorial meetings in their offices, then call on reporters in the field to document them. Sometimes the initial idea can be traced to a story in New York or The New York Times. Otherwise, editors extrapolate national trends from their own small world of other writers and editors. 'I'm surprised they haven't done a trend story on working late and sending out for Chinese food,' quips the former stringer, 'because everybody they know does this.'"

Now there's new evidence for this phenomenon in a remarkable investigation by Fishbowl LA, which uses Friendster to trace the names in a recent NYT Styles story. Bonus points to FishLA for dubbing Friendster "the craigslist of our generation." [via Fishbowl NY]

Posted by Daniel Radosh


Both elements of this story are fascinating to me. There's obviously some lazy deadline meeting but there also seems like it is a justification for questionable behavior. 'Look, we're not unnaturally prolonging a failed relationship because of fear, we're participating in a trend!' I'm sure it was a great relief to the author's dysfunctional friends. Normally I'm for relieving anxiety, even from the lowliest of God's creatures, but that's superceded here by the horror I feel seeing bad relationships. Breaking up is free, divorce is expensive.

I am somewhat unsettled that the finest fiber of history, social (rather than obvious familial or institutional) connections, is so readily available on Friendster. I mean I wouldn't think that anyone with an actual public life would leave their actual private life so exposed.

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