Roundup: Top Ten Things of 2012

This is a the second post in a series. The 2011 list can be found here.

This list is in no particular order, and is not scientific in the least. It's about trends and observations, so I'd like to hear if you agree or disagree.

#10: Songs that sound like they could be Police songs.


#9 Barack Obama
I'm Canadian, but we canucks love watching a good ol' American election. The drama! The huge budgets! The far right wing nuts! It's all really much more exciting than our own political environment. Barack Obama was re-elected in 2012 and also had the most re-tweeted tweet of all time. He's a political rock star and everyone (well, everyone in Canada at least) loves him.

#8 Memes
I mentioned the Hey Girl meme in my list last year, and memes get a broader mention this year, because I've witnessed a tipping point in 2012, largely due to how facebook has allowed images to be shared. Last year your mom joined facebook, this year she shared a meme for the first time. I teach social media classes and I started using popular memes in my lectures with students. They love it. They help us connect. Perhaps most people don't really know what memes are, but a meme is defined as a style or idea that spreads from person to person within a culture. It could be a song you get stuck in your head, a gesture, a familiar pattern. But what I'm talking about are internet memes. It seems that in 2012 internet memes hit a tipping point and now you, your mom, and someone you barely knew in highschool are making visual image memes and sharing them on facebook. I remember a few years ago I could make reference to the Deal with It meme in casual conversation and rarely would I meet someone who knew what I was referencing, unless they were as big an internet nerd as I am. Now everyone knows popular meme references, and memes create celebrities. Angelina Jolie's leg was a meme instantly while she was on the red carpet at an awards show. It's been suggested her "people" informed her and she played it up later that evening while on stage, to encourage discussion about her leg. And who could forget Binders Full of Women, which was perfectly timed to be a halloween costume meme?
Read more: Know Your Meme

#7 Going to McDonalds for coffee
They gave it away free a bunch of times and now I know how great their cups are with the fun little lids and double walled sides and now I go to McDonalds just for coffee sometimes. Many locations are now McCafe locations made to look like coffeeshop/burger joints. Obviously this is a strategic move by the company, and it's totally working.

#6 Proper Men's Haircuts
The whole manly-men Mad Men trend of a properly tailored suit has been around for a few years. Lumberjack shirts and beards and proper boots and pants that fit at the waist have become fairly mainstream. And the proper men's haircut has been around for a few years as well, but I saw it hit mainstream culture in 2012. Almost entirely gone are frosty spikes and heavily gelled coifs styled for height. Men's hair is all about a good cut, a respectable style, and smooth finish. Even on big punk rock dudes with lots of tattoos and bikers and gay men. It's across the board. Thank goodness.

#6 Weird weather
Are people still denying climate change? Because I wore socks and long pants until August and then it was warm until mid-December. Check out some of the record temperatures this year.

(Probably a bad choice of image.
I'm sure Jon Stewart was making
an astute and clever observation.)
#5 Old media sources talking about new media sources
This is more of a pet peeve than anything, but I need to take a minute to rant about this. Have you watched a news cast lately? They love to talk about twitter on the news. They reference twitter on a regular basis for breaking news stories, obtain quotes, get "feedback" from their "viewers" and ask you to follow them constantly. This annoys me to no end. Want to know why newscaster? Because if I wanted the news from twitter I'd be on twitter. Nothing says "your format is dead" than you constantly talking about that other media format all the time. For another example, check out the internet sensation -come-radio hit Gangnam Style.

#4 Sharing: Being inspired by lies/Marketing on Tragedy
Those stories on facebook attached to a picture that are totally made up, but tug on your heartstrings and have 250k likes. Politicians and news anchors just blatantly making things up and calling them scientific facts. Companies selling products and donating "10% of profits to victims of...", capitalizing on your guilt, and other snake oils sales tactics. (Like this one and this one.) Gosh, the world was really gross in 2012. Since we have smart phone technology and ipads every 50 feet, perhaps we should all take a moment to review the information in front of us, and find out truths before we make snap judgements. With a world of information rushing at us constantly, it's important to investigate and think critically about what we think we know. Just because sharing has been made easier doesn't mean we should think less about what we share. Better sharing includes research. I often start at snopes, a classic website that helps you to investigate things you read on the internet and urban legends. And while people criticize wikipedia, it's actually been found to be highly reliable. Well, according to this article on wikipedia anyhow. So take that as you will.

#3 The overuse of the words Amazing and Awesome. 
No, everything isn't amazing and/or awesome. I'm very guilty of this. Can we either increase our standards of what qualifies as "amazing" or decrease our use of the word? It would really have a lot more meaning if we could do that.

#2 Chia Seeds
What the heck are these little delicious things? Are they the same things as are used on Chia pets? Who knows, but I do know they are healthy and I saw them on everything this year, and before 2012 I'd never heard of them before. Now they're the new superfood and they're in everything. I keep thinking the growing popularity of superfoods like acai, chia or gogi is a combination of our collective excessive boredom with having millions of foods to choose from, combined with a generalized fear of all existing food options thanks to the industrial farming industry and the documentaries and books that have revealed it to us. Whatever, I'm going to eat up all the chia and feel better for it. It's probably because I spent all of 2011 eating bacon on everything.

Or, You Only Live Once. An excuse to do something stupid, because, you know, you're young and you don't live forever. Oddly enough there's a part of me that isn't entirely opposed to this philosophy, because in spirit it's very similar to carpe diem, or "seize the day". Unfortunately, it's become a phrase associated with doing really stupid and irresponsible things, feeling like an invincible teenager, and then shouting YOLO! after as an excuse.  The phrase is currently connected to the Drake song "The Motto" but is also attributed to Mae West and has been used for over 100 years, including as far back as (the German equivalent of) "one lives but once in the world" by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in the play Clavigo in 1774 and as the title of a waltz Man lebt nur einmal! ("You Only Live Once!") by Johann Strauss II in 1855. It really goes to show, everything old is new again.

Prediction for 2013? DONUTS. Hot food trend.
Happy New Year!

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