Trendiness is in the
Eye of the Early Adopter
by Mad Dog
trendy doesnít exactly bring out the best in us. It makes us wear
unflattering clothes, eat food we donít really like, watch TV shows we
canít stay awake through, and read unreadable books because everyone
tells us how much they loved them.
||Cleanliness may be next to
godliness, but trendiness, well, itís way down the bottom of the list
sharing a spot with ugliness. If you donít believe it, just look at
any woman over the age of 30 wearing a Paris Hilton miniskirt and crop
top, the kid next door whoís wearing huge baggy jeans that not only
look like oversized Bermuda shorts but are the size of their namesake
country with the waistband hanging below his, uh, hips and his underwear
pulled up to where his waistband should be, or anyone wearing Uggs. Hey,
thereís a reason their name is short for ugly and a homophone for ugh.
But full length mirrors have never stopped anyone from a following a
trend. Face it, if you want to be trendy you just have to give up some
things. Like self-respect.
Being trendy doesnít exactly bring
out the best in us. It makes us wear unflattering clothes, eat food we
donít really like, watch TV shows we canít stay awake through, and
read unreadable books because everyone tells us how much they loved
them. Or would if they ever managed to get through more than half a page
before picking up the latest copy of People and reading it cover
to cover. Itís why we listen to gangsta rap while sitting in our
pristine suburban house, and why we drink bottled water that costs more
per gallon than gas instead of the cheap stuff that comes out of the
tap. Itís also why we walk around wearing glowing Bluetooth earpieces
24 hours a day. Nothing says ďIím trendy and importantĒ like
spending every waking moment with what looks like my grandmotherís old
hearing aid stuck behind an ear.
If this is the first youíve
heard of flaxseed ó hey, you can thank me later ó then youíre a
laggard. If youíve been using it for a while, youíre an early
adopter or early majority. If youíre still mourning Jerry Falwellís
passing, youíre a silent majority, but that doesnít mean you
shouldnít be eating flaxseed.
Trendiness is why we like restaurants that serve food thatís so
intricately arranged it looks better than it tastes, or ones that offer
a whole menu of appetizers renamed as small plates because lord knows no
one would ever think of sitting down and sharing a half dozen appetizers
that each cost as much as an entrťe should. Itís also the driving
force behind flaxseed, which is the trendy food supplement of the week.
Flaxseed, for those of you who have been too busy mailing foie gras to
the Los Angeles County jail so Paris wonít starve to keep up with what
the hip people are eating, is the Wheat Germ of the New Millennium.
Itís high in fiber, has lots of omega-3 fatty acids, and itís being
added to just about everything from tortilla chips ó ďNow with
organic shade grown fair trade flaxseed!Ē ó to cereal, to brownies.
And if, perchance, you accidentally buy something that doesnít have
flaxseed in it, you can sprinkle some on top. It adds ant-like specks,
more fiber than a cardboard box, and an earthy flavor. You know, like
If this is the first youíve heard
of flaxseed ó hey, you can thank me later ó then youíre a laggard.
If youíve been using it for a while, youíre an early adopter or
early majority. If youíre still mourning Jerry Falwellís passing,
youíre a silent majority, but that doesnít mean you shouldnít be
eating flaxseed. Heck, you can probably find some Sinless Communion
Wafers with flaxseed added without any problem. If you invented
flaxseed, youíre not only an innovator, but God. If thatís the case,
please forgive me if I said anything to offend you.
of the tipping point as the moment when the sleeping trend cow tilts
just enough to tip over and fall on its side. Itís the moment when
something unusual becomes common. In other words, when something fun
These classifications arenít made up ó well, they are, but
not by me ó theyíre part of the diffusion of innovations theory,
which was formalized back in 1962 by Everett Rogers in a book called,
amazingly enough, Diffusion of Innovations. Hey, no one ever said
Rogers was an innovator. In it he states that adopters of any new
innovation or idea can be categorized as innovators, early adopters,
early majority, late majority, laggards, and Luddites, who wouldnít
touch a trend with a 10-foot old-style pole. Just kidding about the last
category, I innovated there. Hurry and adopt it before it gets too
See, the problem is, by the time an
idea gets past the early adopters itís on the way out and you should
avoid it like this yearís recycled leg warmers. Hey, even Jennifer
Beales isnít wearing them this time around. Though Pat Benatar might
be. The point where something goes over the edge and becomes popular is
called the tipping point. Malcolm Gladwell spends a whole book talking
about this, a book called The Tipping Point, yet another example
of an author who isnít a title innovator. Think of the tipping point
as the moment when the sleeping trend cow tilts just enough to tip over
and fall on its side. Itís the moment when something unusual becomes
common. In other words, when something fun becomes boring. Itís when
Crocs stopped being a strange, weird shoe you saw someone hip wearing
and your grandmother gave you a pair for Christmas. Itís the moment
you heard your favorite undiscovered bandís music in the dentistís
office. Itís when your parents set up their own MySpace pages. And
invited you to be their friend.
Remember: Trendiness is in the eye of
the beholder. Following a trend is easy, being a trendsetter isnít.
And honesty is the best policy, so do what you want, not what everyone
else is doing. With luck this will start a trend. Just donít forget
where you heard it first.
©2007 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country.
Read them before they become too trendy.