Trends are a great way to capture an audience, whether on social media or in real life. Tapping into what's “hot and popular” may not be everyone's cup of tea, but sometimes, they can be entertaining to participate in. It's why TikTok, where most trends originate from, is one of the leading social media platforms.
But TikTok is a lot of “Gen Z” and a dash of “cool” millennials, and trends have been around for a long time — way before apps like TikTok and Instagram launched. Here are a few other trends we thought people would never get over, as discussed by members of a popular online forum.
1. Chuck Norris Memes
Remember Chuck Norris from movies like The Expendables 2 and The Hitman? Then you're probably familiar with the wildfire memes of him that were, perhaps, more famous than the actor himself.
The weird part is people spent hard-earned cash on books and magazines just to look at memes they could just as easily look up on the internet. Some even bought posters!
FarmVille may have been the Candy Crush of the earlier generation. Instead of endlessly running, it was an agriculture simulation game that involved farming activities like harvesting crops and raising livestock.
As dull as it sounds now, people got crazy when you told them you didn't play — it was like a farmer's cult! Someone said his wife was in labor and asking him if he could harvest her FarmVille crop. Priorities, fam.
3. Candy Crush
Candy Crush may be the “it” game of this generation, but it may be quickly losing its sweet grip on fans.
Players used to spend hours with rapt attention on that app. A close friend of mine was even “addicted” to it. How did they have that much time? Now, everyone is looking for ways to survive inflation and spend time with their families. Candy Crush creators must be really crushed.
4. The Mustache Era
In this strange era, folks drew mustaches on their fingers and held them up to their chin for that Dwayne Johnson smoldering gaze or goofy look. They wore mustache-patterned clothing and even mustache tattoos. It was considered “peak fashion.”
5. Keep Calm And…
Cringe? This used to be a thing. I found it really annoying, and it was everywhere! Keep Calm and Enjoy Life. Keep Calm, and Don't Ask Why. Believe me, always ask why.
6. Swing Music
Swing music was the pop of the 1930s through to the 1940s, characterized by an off-beat, swagger, “galloping” tempo, and a high spirit. It is a style of jazz popularized by legendary musicians like Duke Ellington (the ghost of Nick Birch's attic) and Benny Goodman.
7. Beaded Animals
This one was popular in schools. Students would create almost any animal out of beads! I never understood how people could make many animals and shapes out of string and beads. Believe it or not, there were books dedicated to teaching crafters how to make the bead creatures of their dreams.
8. Backward Pants
This trend was inspired by the Hip-Hop duo Kriss Kross, who performed wearing their clothes backward. Soon enough, everyone wanted to dress that way and be a “cool kid,” too.
9. The Harlem Shake
Where did the rock gods go? Harlem Shakes was an American indie rock band that stole the hearts of rock lovers, but it sadly disbanded in 2009. However, people do not refer to the band when discussing trends. The trend was an internet meme of people dancing crazily to the song “Harlem Shake” by Baauer.
10. Flash Mobs
Flash mobs plagued YouTube for years in the late 2000s and early 2010s. You know the type of videos- open on a shot of a typical mall, and then, suddenly, one person starts dancing. Then another. Then another. Before you know it, twenty people are in coordinating outfits, performing a choreographed number in front of dozens of unsuspecting shoppers. When flash mobs first became “a thing,” people would stop and watch with laughter. Now, I'm pretty positive most would just walk right on by, inconvenienced by the loud music and joy of others.
11. The Ice Bucket Challenge
The Ice Bucket Challenge began with the best intentions. Initially, celebrities, influencers, and ordinary people alike would challenge each other to donate money and dump a whole bucket of ice water over their heads to raise awareness for ALS. This debilitating disease impacts the spinal cord. Unfortunately, the challenge became more about withstanding the ice water than raising money for the ALS Association's research, but not before participants raised 115 million.
12. Silly Bandz
I was entering middle school when these bracelets hit the scene, so I was the prime target for Silly Bandz's marketers. Sold in packets of five to ten, these silicone bracelets resembled fun shapes, such as microphones or stars, that looked like random squiggles when worn. The thrill of finding a new shape or limited edition color in the Silly Bandz packet your parents bought you combined with the thrill of trading your spoils with friends. Trading and admiring Silly Bandz became so popular that they were eventually outlawed in my school's dress code.
I have to admit; of the gimmick products that hit shelves in my childhood, Silly Bandz was among the best.
13. Pet Rocks
I wish I thought of this idea myself, because it's genius, cheap, and brought in a ton of money for the creator, Gary Dahl. These pets came in cartons, nestled in a bed of shredded cardboard, cozy and ready to begin their lives in their new home. Some Pet Rocks had eyes; others were just straight-up smooth stones in a box. For some reason, kids seem to really love picking up random rocks, so allowing them to form an emotional attachment with one that cost $4 and change was a surefire way to make money.
14. Beanie Babies
How's your Beanie Baby college fund going? Yeah, same here. People went nuts for these (admittedly adorable) stuffed animals. There's nothing wrong with a plushie collection! Except there is. Beanie Babies sold on the promise that they'd become insanely valuable down the line. Now, you can find these poor abandoned creatures, tags and all, in thrift stores for 10 cents each.
15. Pokemon Go
As a Pokemon Go lover, it's difficult to accept slander against the game that gets me through boring waits at restaurants and the grocery store. When Niantic launched this VR game in 2016, people quite literally lost their minds. Dozens of people gathered in parks, playgrounds, malls, and other community landmarks in the hunt for their favorite Pokemon. While the game succeeded in bringing introverted geeks out of the house to socialize with each other, it also led to some significant mishaps, including 145,000 traffic accidents. Some people even walked off a cliff while “catching them all.”
16. The Clown Sightings
Back in 2016, numerous people in various cities reported seeing clowns. While that notion is terrifying enough, the clowns were noted to simply be standing there: not bothering others, just living their happy clown lives. Until more sightings occurred and some rogue clowns started chasing people. To this day, no one knows why people dressed as clowns took to street corners and the edge of forests. Some think this was all real-life promotion for the IT revival. Others believe it was a random social media prank. Perhaps it was both.
19. Rainbow Looms
My family still finds these little rubber bands underneath couches and in cobwebby corners. Rainbow looms were the hot toy in 2014, and soon, kids everywhere were wearing bracelets made of intricately braided rubber bands. As the craft rose in popularity, people graduated from bracelets to headbands to purses and, yes, even outfits. While Rainbow Loom crafts aren't as popular, all those extra little bands make great hair ties.
18. Shoulder Pads
The 80s called, and they want their fashion back. Shoulder pads have gone full circle, swinging back into popularity in late 2022 and early 2023. If you want your shoulders to look very square and want a Miranda Priestly vibe, look no further than your local Target. Or maybe just the back of your closet.
19. Ugg Boots
Uggs were the shoes every girl wanted- another iteration of the “boots with the fur,” if you will. They didn't serve a function, as they weren't waterproof, stained easily, and the lining on the inside got super stained up (and smelly) after only a few wears, but they indeed were the height of fashion.
Webkinz were the early 2010s answer to Beanie Babies, with an added twist. Not only were Webkinz adorable, collectible stuffed animals, but they came with a code you could use to bring your pet to life on the Webkinz website! There, you could decorate a home for your pets, play games, and visit your friends' homes. Stores had a hard time keeping these toys on the shelves, and everyone knew that if you had more than two or three Webkinz, you were basically royalty.
Unfortunately, disco never made it out of the 60s. What used to be the ultimate party music now plays on a sad loop in pharmacies and doctors' offices. Disco barely makes an appearance on my local classic hits station.
The name brings about visions of futuristic hovering surfboards. In actuality, hoverboards were little more than scooters. Everyone was desperate to get their hands (or feet) on them until the hype died down and reality set in. We can thank the hoverboard for providing us with plenty of fail videos.
NFTs– a type of cryptocurrency- were all the rage for a few months, then quietly faded to the background after memes and online ridicule brought shame to investors. I hope those who got their hands on their weird cartoon portraits are happy with their purchases!
24. Toe Socks
Sensory nightmare or fun accessory? You decide! As literal foot gloves, toe socks were popular in the good old 1990s. They made it into the early 200os but haven't been seen since.