Software might cause mass excitement, but it hasn’t formed the same kind of temporary childish fads as hardware toys have. That is, until recently. things like Yoyos, Beyblades, Tomagotchis etc. are these little, relatively inexpensive curios which everyone gets excited about and has a lot of fun with, mainly through riding the hype wave. this hasn’t really happened for software though. Curios which match the requirements exist; snake for instance was a great little mobile phone gem, but it didn’t have hype behind it, you just had it on your phone. Games which were hyped were generally larger affairs. They gradually lost appeal with age as expected or if they weren’t received poorly.
Fads are different. They rely on a bunch of people getting into some little thing in a big way. like how you can go nuts for gravy because its the hip thing all your friends are doing and suddenly you can’t go to school without your gravy sachet. It’s all over in a month or two though. Gravy is no longer cool. This is the pattern with things like tomagotchi’s, magic jumping beans and collectible human teeth, and notably Pokemon Go.
Pokemon Go has heralded a new era of fads. It is the first really hyped piece of software which people could be seen carrying around in the street and using. At least it was fun to think you could tell who was catching a Bulbasaur in the park at 3:30am as opposed to who was just texting their dealer. Tomagotchis were physical units, and so were gameboys. Though they were popular, gameboy ownership and use wasn’t so ubiquitous as to lead people to feel like they could tell what people were playing on the street with their handheld. It probably was pokemon though, come to think of it.
Pokemon Go runs on smartphone platforms. These really are ubiquitous. computers are now integrated into our daily physical lives. We carry them with us and use them while talking to people we don’t want to listen to in real life. Because they don’t need us to sit down or go to them to use them. Smartphones really have become social.
Things like tinder and facebook are popular, hyped and trendy. These however have altered the way we live more permanently than a fad. They have coined terms in society such as “social media” and “dating apps.” Terms devised so that, not quite young enough to be milenials, can convince older employers that they really are out of touch and need more “strategic development if they goal to progress sustainability into the future moving forward,” in order to steal someones job.
Angry birds might have been a fad but it was more or less a gameboy game on a phone. I’d say it just about qualifies apart from the social aspect. Pokemon Go was something people talked about going out of their way to do. It was something that people would jump on the bandwagon of, and it was hyped before and after release by the users. People wanted to hang out with people just to go take a gym or beat up that man over there with the brief case who looks like he might have just taken the gym back but could be telling his kids that he’s on his way to their birthday party but is assuming that really worth the risk?
A piece of software becoming a fad opens up a whole realm of possibilities like… damn, now I have to think of something so that I sound like I’m really insightful. More augmented reality? Nah, you’re right. but I guess the running out of steam is another feature of fads which Pokemon Go displays.
I hope the next one is a yoyo app which convinces you to drop your phone. Wait, no, that’s a bad idea.