Tuesday, 29 January 2013


This week’s topic for The Writers’ Post is ‘Popularity’ and the host is Jennifer Wilck.
According to Wikipedia, “Popularity is a social phenomenon that dictates who or what is best liked.” We see it everywhere in society, in the ‘popular culture’ that surrounds us, whether it’s songs, movies, TV shows, singers, actors, celebrities, or even popular foods and drinks. When something gains the attention of a group, it becomes ‘popular’, the media catches onto the craze and the whole thing snowballs.
Think of the hype surrounding ‘50 Shades’ last year. It didn’t matter whether the books were good, bad, or indifferent. They became ‘popular’, firstly because of an aggressive marketing strategy, and then because of the snowball effect, helped by the media, and then because everyone was asking everyone else, ‘Have you read it (or them)?’
What about fashions in clothes? Who decides what colours will be ‘popular’ this spring, or what styles everyone will be wearing? Or which shoes and handbags?
The crucial word in the Wikipedia definition, to my mind, is ‘dictates’. The popularity of many things is ‘dictated’ to us. In addition, the marketing experts know that the easiest section of society to influence is young people. Many of them want to be seen to be following the popular trends, whether in fashion or music or the ‘best’ club or pub in town.
Some people never really grow out of this. They continue to be influenced by what is ‘popular’. Others go completely the other way, and go all out to be ‘different’. The majority of us, I would suggest, gradually learn our own preferences, regardless of what may or may not be popular. In other words, we become individuals, making our own decisions about what to wear, what music to listen to, what movies to see, what furniture or kitchen equipment or technology products to buy, regardless of whether these are ‘popular’ or not.


  1. Hi Paula, I think you've raised a great point. The "dictates" is the big problem. I don't have a problem with popularity per se, but I don't want others telling me what to do, say, wear, etc. Great take on the theme!

  2. Being told what to wear for Spring fashion, etc. really puts pressure on some folk to spend. Likewise with the popular genre of the year. This year it appears to be porn, not erotica, porn. Prior to that book of many shades, (read an extract and knew it was not the trend I wanted to follow), not one of the big six wanted to know erotica, now they are declaring it the 'in' read. The marketing guys really know their stuff, and sometimes it leaves me cold.
    Interesting post, Paula.

  3. Exactly, Jen - I make my own decisions, but so many people are influenced by the marketers and the media.

    Glynis - totally agree with you about erotica/porn. Fifty years ago, Lady Chatterley's Lover was a banned book i.e. pornographic! Now no-one would bat an eyelid at it! I'm not a prude, but I've read so-called erotica (excerpts) that I would consider as porn, and yet, as you say, now the big publishers are telling us it's the 'in' thing. Not my scene at all!

  4. Like you I think that it is better to be yourself than be a carbon copy of everyone else. I do things and like things because I want to not because everyone else is doing it or liking it. Great post!