The rapidly changing realm of microtrends



Wordle’s popularity can be attributed to people of all ages with its timeless puzzle concept.

Here for two weeks and gone again. This is the reality of many trends, thanks to social media. These  microtrends have taken over social media, with influencers promoting a brand or style and followers imitating what they see online. 

Whether it be a new dance that blows up overnight, style choices declared “cheugy” or tacky the next week or a trending drink that people lose taste for later, microtrends are capricious indicators of what is currently in.

“I think a microtrend is a trend that starts on social media, grows bigger from there, and eventually dies down in a short time,” Karina Hernandez (10) said. “Celsius would be one, some dances that you see on TikTok [are] microtrends for sure, and style choices like from SHEIN. Fast fashion is definitely a microtrend.”

Sometimes, microtrends resurface after many years. People will often notice fashion trends are cycling back either revamped or just as they were. A current resurgence from 90s fashion has been claw clips, which are both a fashionable and functional way to keep back longer hair. 

“I use claw clips; I really enjoy them. I know my mom has always been into claw clips and so they’ve always been big for my family and just recently people have been getting into that,” Hernandez said. 

TikTok, the birthplace of many microtrends, also has a hand in letting these trends die by replacing them with yet another gadget or game to distract users. However, some of these trends do choose to stick around in some circles. An example of this would be Wordle, an infamously addictive word game. Players complete the daily puzzle and often share the results with their friends. 

“Wordle is fun. I do it every day. All my friends do it. We have a whole channel in our [Discord] server with about 50 people in it, and we post our Wordle in this one channel every day. Even my parents do it,” Cabell Mercer (11) said. 

Wordle makes microtrends seem harmless, but others have much more detrimental impacts than a couple extra minutes of screen time. Take for example an energy drink like Celsius, which is marketed towards fitness lovers or those with active lives, but many teenagers can be seen roaming the halls with a slender Celsius can tucked in their backpacks. Hernandez was one to drink Celsius as well, with little to no thought about how it may affect her health. 

“I’ve recently been pushing back on it since I’ve heard that people are having heart problems from it,” Hernandez said. “I saw it on TikTok a couple weeks ago, and yesterday, I saw that two of my friends have actually been sent to the hospital because of Celsius.”

Health is not the only thing affected by some microtrends. As social media drastically shortens peoples’ attention spans, followers of the trends buy products while they are popular and forget about them within weeks. 

“I think there’s a lot of items that people collect for a year or so and then they just forget about them and [companies] stop making them. Especially my sister, she had a lot of those collectible things, and her friends have them, and they just keep getting more even though they’re useless pieces of plastic,” Mercer said.  

It does not help that teens, especially in an effort to imitate an influencer or celebrity, purchase products that may not be useful for them and discard the product the second it becomes “cheugy” or just simply not popular anymore. 

“It just shows that a lot of people are followers because there’s a lot of things that people just buy and they don’t know the use. They just buy it because everyone else is buying it,”  Hernandez said.