OK, so it’s valentines day. That means that the shops are full of over prices roses and chocolates, plus a range of other items that are meant to be romantic and cute. I’ve no object to this other than the over pricing and seemingly increasing commercialisation. However valentines day as such is not the focus of the blog. If I was to provide a longer title for the blog it would be ‘Roses are Red, or whatever colour suits your purpose’. That might be slightly cryptic, but what it’s aimed at is what one could call ‘bandwagoning’.
In my job I get to, among other things, monitor and maintain a twitter account. There are a number of large organisations and charities that are followed so that relevant information can then be passed onto those what follow the account. Over 90% of what gets posted is of no use in terms of ‘re-tweeting’ but it does mean that I see a lot of tweets in the average working day. Today is not a fun day to be monitoring the account because it’s valentines day.
One thing that I have noticed over the 9 months the account has been running is the amount of jumping onto a bandwagon for events and specific days. Now I do understand this, its natural to want to use current events to promote things. What I dislike is the amount of crow barring that goes on to ensure that the event is made relevant to the organisation. In the days when I subscribed to a well know UK based satirical magazine they would often have a section highlighting some of the more absurd examples.
However bandwagoning exists in a different way in social groups. (This may be pushing the definition a bit, but I think it’s the same thing, just a different situation). I have noticed that in one of the groups I am involved with there is amount of social bandwagoning going on. This is where someone joins the group and because they are seen to be either trendy or in with the organisers, they suddenly have a group that forms around them. While I understand there is a certain amount of naturalness in this (everyone wanted to be friends with the cool people at school and university didn’t they?, ok not everyone), what I’ve found interesting is how quickly those not jumping on the bandwagon are get shunted to one side.
I’m not personally bothered by it, I’ve never been one to follow trends. As has been commented by a family member, I have a small but very good group of friends. They are people who will go out of their way for me and who I would go out of my way for. The people that if they phoned at 2am in the morning needing help, it would not be an issue and help would come. (I have had this tested, all be it when someone forgot the time zone difference. We’re still friends and joke about it, but they know that there was never an issue and never would be). As I look at the social bandwagoning I do wonder about the level of friendships that these people really have. Come the next ‘big thing’ will those who have received the attention be disillusioned when the social butterflies move on. Probably and I wonder if they will stay within the group. Possibly not.
While it is probably nice to be considered in the ‘in group’, I know I’m happier with the lasting friendships I have got.