The 40 Biggest Trends, Phenomena, and Developments of the Collegiate and Postgraduate Realms in 2012

by 5 years ago


40. Bandwagon Opinions

Why like something when someone else may hate it, rendering you a non-culturally in tune outcast?

If you watch a popular TV show and go on twitter/some website/rotten tomatoes at the same time, there’s a good chance that a bunch of highly influential people will form opinions on that show. Meaning that if the general blog/twitter consensus is that the show sucks, then you, the right kind of person, must also think that show sucks .

Yes “Breaking Bad” is awesome, but would it be as awesome without the ringing endorsement of the internet?

39. The Ganj

Always a popular item amongst the demo, the ganj made some great strides this year, which you likely know about through your stoner friends’ semi-profound facebook statuses that tried to make the issue solely about making great strides in individual liberties.

(This of course, was a poorly executed attempt to mask the fact that he couldn’t give a shit about individual liberties, and really just wants to smoke weed.)

38. Emoji

It's nearly impossible not to find that smiling pile of shit emoticon highly enjoyable. 

37. Snapchat

Below is everyone conversation that has ever happened regarding Snapchat

Person 1: Yo, hear about this dope app that both me and my girlfriend don’t really want to use, but will because if we didn’t, it would imply we thought a shit ton of girls/guys are currently more alluring than the one we’ve decided to monogamize with?

Person 2 is not impressed, so Person 1 realizes he must go in for the kill.

Person 1: Best thing is, pic is gone after 10 seconds

Person 2: Nah brah. You could screenshot it.

Person 1: Wow. You’re a genius. That idea is solely yours, and definitely wasn’t thought of by anyone else in the world.

Person 2: I know, I’m the shit.

36. Snapbacks

(Pic via)


35. Impractical Hashtags

Impractical hashtags #blewup this year. Obviously, we have not seen the last of these. #nosir.

34. Call Me Maybe

I’d implore you to take a journey and recall the your “first time” with this Carly Rae Explosion. For better or for worse, this was likely one of your more memorable moments of 2012. 

33. “That awkward moment when this isn’t real life.”

When the two most despicable phrases of the collegiate realm collide, there’s no telling how many muploads of giant fishbowl drinks complete with 6 straws will ensue. Like so:

T minus 5 hours till Cancun!! Seriously, is this real life?

Followed by:

That awkward moment when the guy at Tiki bar REALLY needs to get a clue. #packitup.

(Do I get 90% of my material from general chatter regarding Spring Break Trips? Possibly)

32. Legitimization of Instagram

What used to be something only for girls and guys who worship “The Lumineers” is now embraced hated on by the most manly of the pack–specifically those with shamelessly large amounts of disposable income, who enjoy popping bottles at places rapped about by Curtis Jackson.


31. Reddit and the Viral Machine

This was a year where social media was ruled by the Lords of “Likes,” who called about the Vassals of Viral distribute content that is ultimately meaningless, but capitalizes on our internet-induced tendency to stare at SHIT THAT JUMPS OUT AT US without really taking it in.

The Reddits and the Buzzfeeds of the world mastered the art of going viral, something that will most certainly continue to rule the collegiate realm as long as Professors continue to be unengaging.

30. G Chat

Me: Yo

Other Person is typing

Other Person is typing

(me thinking about making some comment about why he/she is too cool to respond, but instead quickly shut the g chat out of office-snooping fear)

29. Not Being Impressed

It may be “justameme,” but apply it to your expectations of the opposite sex, and it suddenly means so much more. For bonus points, feel free to add the phrase “story of my life.”

28. Learning That Someone You Haven’t Talked to in 3 Years Has Just Joined Spotify

27. Macklemore + The New Wave of Intelligent Hip-Hop

People were mad into the lighter, almost poppy “Thrift Shop,” but the success of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' “The Heist” was perhaps indicative of a larger trend, encapsulated nicely through a viral “call to action” piece written by Jeff Baird of “Fresh New Tracks” earlier this year:

I’m asking us to be conscious of what we consume and what type of hip-hop we’re promoting when we share it. Our choices ultimately get reflected in who’s in the magazines, who’s on the radio, and even who’s getting a record deal. I’m always careful to promote new artists who have something special to share (see Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore, Blue Scholars, Logic, Kinetics, Dylan Owen, Accent—just to name a few), and I’ll continue to do so. But many of hip-hop’s forefathers are on their way out, and it’s up to us to make sure the right artists of this new generation end up on top.

26. Conference Shuffle, Death of the Big East

Sad year for the greatest college basketball conference of all-time. Though at least for a brief period, it brought us this gem of a map.

25. #GroupsofDudes

I have no idea why this twitter account did not become absolutely monstrous–a twitter mystery as disappointing as the sudden discontinuation of Ghetto Hikes–but the trend is undeniable. Be it your roomie portrait, those grease monkeys that nearly ruined the trip to AC, or the girls at your frat formal insisting you guys take a chapter-wide pic, Groups of Dudes killed it this year.

24. Teaching abroad for a year / “finding” and “discovering” yourself / Gap Year

There was a movie that came out in 2011 called “Take Me Home Tonight,” which stars Topher Grace as a whiny smart person who is too talented to have an actual job. It had all the makings of a mid-March Hall Pass-esque throwaway movie, except that it strangely decided to be a terrific commentary on post-college confusion.  We see both Anna Faris and Topher Grace in a world where their talents and hopes seem alarmingly unattainable, thus forcing them to garner victories step by step, winning each possession as opposed to the entire ball game.

They weren’t afforded a gap year, but the movie excellently captured the sentiments of the sorts of people that do take the time to be ski instructors in Colorado.

(Despite it sorta-kinda taking place in the 80’s– complete with a soundtrack that screamed “LOOK THE 80s”–it basically took place in 2011.)

23. Superlative Extremes, Using the Word “Ever”

Seriously, this is the worst shit ever.

22. Recessional Nihilism

Apparently, Ke$ha is now a legitimate artist who captures the essence of our collective “recessional nihilism.” And while that last sentence may simply be a stuffily academic way of saying “fuck it, let’s party,” it apparently resonates pretty strongly within our generational ish–uncertainly reeling upon more uncertainly, with our only comfort coming in the form of an uncontrollable spiral. Something along the lines of “we can only control what we can’t control, so let’s take control of being uncontrollable.”

(Basically just a bunch of wordplay to sound smart, but that disconnect between “doing what you love” and not having to have a heart attack everytime you look at a menu is really starting to matter.)

21. The Doritos Locos Tacos

Between Victor Rasuk getting a second wind, Taco Bell attempting to cater to the cultural movers and shakers of ambiguously urban cities via the usage of @PassionPit, and the collective groaning of our nation’s sewers, it was quite a year to live Mas.

20. Bud Light Platinum

This is a very good article about how Platinum “made it” in the way us 20-something ideologues could only dream of. Basically, it says that Platty Light is premium top-shelf stuff for people who still buy a lot of shit on their parents credit card–frat Bros riding out the sunset into a world where they live in apartments they totally shouldn’t live in at age 22, dating girls who are relatively attractive, but can never be taken seriously due to the frequency by which they use the phrase LOVE. THIS.

Wake up hungover and go to your entry level “job,” but at night, Platinum will make you a King.


19. Unproblematic Problems

For those who wished to be “the…a voice of their generation,” the simpler route went as follows:

A. Take an overarching theme or identifier
B.  add the word problems
C. Make a twitter account
D. Bathe in the sea of low-hanging retweet fruit

I’m starting to think we are now moving beyond this trend, which is certainly refreshing. That is, before it’s warped into some sort of inevitable “problem.”

18. “Dude, let’s totally get tickets to Ibiza/TomorrowLand/Ultra this year”

It’s not often that you find someone who has the remarkable ability to consistently dress like a radioactive peacock. But when you do find this winner of a human, you know you’ve got a friend for life.

(Or at the very least, someone to screenshot tweets and muploads of, and send them to that email chain that’s only there to make fun of your high school friends/announce when people get engaged or arrested.)

17. Underemployment

This was so big, the folks over at MTV and their endless dinner buffet of hyper-targeted market research decided to air a TV series about the concept. “Underemployment” of course, referring to us entitled 20-somethings not being offered to be the CEO’s of our dream fields and/or getting paid massive amounts of money to perform the tasks of our choosing, without pausing to consider whether or not said initiatives are profitable/have any sort of commercial appeal.

16. 50 Shades of Thrones

Graphic fantasylanding was pretty huge this year. You may have dug the fettishes from HBO’s hit series “Game of f*cking Thrones, but it wouldn’t be outrageous to connect your girl’s sudden odd desires in bed with her recent perusing of the somehow socially acceptable sexual bondage encyclopedia commonly known as “50 Shades of Grey.”

15. Eliminating Future Wife Candidates by Looking At Their Pinterest Boards

Maybe that was just me.

14. Uniformed Political Opinions

“The economy sucks. We need someone that can lead this nation, and make us great again. Hold on, let me find a bunch of buzzwords relating to the issue I want to emphasize. Now I will attempt to employ a meme sprung from the latest debate or viral video, contributing to it being incomprehensibly overplayed.”

–Most Facebook Statuses between September 15th and Election Day.

13. Post Grad Problems/Forced Adulthood

Judging from this twitter account, you’d think that people born between 1985-1992 are the first group of people who used to go to college, but now don’t.

Strangely though, these guys are definitely onto something. 

12. Grouper/OK Cupid

There are two types of postgrads–those that think doing online dating is somehow a compromisation of their awesomeness and is therefore too large of a pride pill to swallow, and those who “resort” to online dating, only to preface such usage with this somewhat detached positive justification, making it seem like “Of course I'm above this…I'm just using it to get some reps in.”

11. Getting Over Taylor Swift

This was the year where even those of us who loved Taylor Swift unconditionally realized that something is definitely up with this one. Darling no more, and the fame cycle rides again.

10. The Comment Section

Far and away the best and worst by-products of the internet is the comment section. I’m actually slightly disappointed/thankful that ours isn’t as active as say, sites where reading the comment sections are far more entertaining than the actual content of the site itself, but it seems that 2012 was a banner year for the internet commenter.

Perhaps most importantly, the world’s finest, Ken M., was duly recognized.

9. Brooklyn

This place has been going so hard, it’s no longer just a hipster-haven. Jay-Z and the Barclays made Brooklyn even more of the place to be, and my completely unsupported guesstimation indicates that saying “you live in Brooklyn” is no longer declaration of inferiority to Manhattanites. The bridge and tunnel crowd is making it’s play for #citydomination, and best get on its level.

8. The 90’s

It’s been talked about enough, and it’s been long-rumored that viral content website/adult version of children’s picture books Buzzfeed's sole mission in life is to relate everything that’s ever happened back to the 90’s.

As glorious as it is infuriating, the fact that we’re finally starting to experience a backlash means that the 90’s are officially the new 80’s, 70’s, AND 60’s.

7. Self-Defensive Snark

Kind of like me writing a category topic, and then making fun of it to avoid being called out on it.

6. The Friendzone

The torture chamber of males being too afraid to make moves on females has seen its numbers rise in staggering fashion. In the electoral college of the sex world, the friendzone is now up there with the Florida’s and Ohio’s in terms of seriously mattering.

Top Bro and legendary friendzone exterminator J Camm, a man who possesses a slugging percentage most Bros can only dream of attaining, has long stood by the following groundbreaking advice in regards to avoiding the dreaded friendzone:

Don’t Suck.

5. The Brohemian

A few years ago, it seemed all but impossible that one could blast Dashboard Confessional and “crush mad beers” at the same time. The Brohemian thought otherwise. 

All in all, this is simply a baffling fusion of the quintessential Bro and the quintessential hipster. Because I’m lazy, am currently contemplating what long-term health problems I may accrue from staring at a luminous screen 14 hours a day, here’s something previously written in this column about the emergence of the Brohemian:

Within every Frat there consists a Brohemian or two. They'll embody many of the usual fratty qualities, but will also have otherwise alarming interests such as worshipping the band Fun. (now they're all about “The xx”), and independent films whose only message is not really having any message at all. Because many of these dangerously NF specimens often don't really give a f*ck that people may raise their eyebrows at the fact that they sometimes have deep thoughts, they've been popularly dubbed “Brohemians.

4. Wolfpacking

It’s common knowledge that dating on college campus has long been on the decline, ceding to something that people who like to characterize trends with tangible terms in order to make them appear more legitimate and indisputable are calling “hookup culture.” Namely, the propensity for males and females to accomplish the desire for physical intimacy via a dancefloor, successfully eliminating the long-standing middle-man of establishing an “emotional connection.”

The result of all this is that if people are marrying later and dating less frequently, more time will be spent with the Bros. A band of roommates then, is increasingly becoming  a misfit family–both in college, and as the group moves onto the postgraduate sphere.

This wonderful Craigslist posting from earlier this year, in which two Bros sought “A Renaissance Bro to assimilate into the existing Bro community,” nicely sums up the formation of the modern-day Wolfpack.

3. EDM Tastemaking

This is a trend music-wide, but it’s really the most fun to observe in the ambiguous EDM genre, often defined by the haterz as a loose compilation of DJs attempting to expedite human hearing loss.

I may be wrong about this, but as EDM moves further and further into the “mainstream,” the backlash of the earlier “underground” supporters has created a rather hierarchy of “scene acceptability.” Just like in any genre then, it’s an unwritten rule that true fans will embrace, let alone be aware of the hottest up-and-coming acts.

However, given the polarizing nature of certain subgenre’s of EDM qualifying as actual music (and not simply exercising the various settings on your new powerdrill), the further we fish into the murky depths of EDM subterfuge, we increasingly stumble upon music that nobody actually likes, but proclaims to like in order to be considered a true EDM authority. Furthermore, given the fact that this sort of thing is solely identified as a hipster complex, Bros of the EDM world have been faced with quite the dilemma. 

(And I mean, come on. You can’t actually like all 142 songs on that RAVE 2012 playlist, half of which are at least 7 minutes long and don’t actually get started until 3 minutes in.)

2. A Particular Four-Letter Acronym That Advocates Making Decisions Based On the Fact That You Are a Functioning, Breathing Person, But Are Not a Functional, Breathing Person Over the Course of Multiple Lifetimes.

Preceded by a hashtag.

1. The Attention Economy

We pay our bills with money, but it seems that us “people that are about to go and do big things” in this world are increasingly subscribing to another form of currency, perhaps more stable in the long-run. I’m talking about the currency of self-worth, that likely overhyped “personal brand” shit you hear about from articles written by people who call themselves consultants simply to earn a higher pay rate. In a world that is dangerously becoming just as much virtual as it is otherwise, the attention economy is becoming a huge deal.

We’re arguably the most selfish generation out there, which could easily be traced to the fact that many of us wish to pursue careers where we make great livings by doing something we claim we’re good at. I guess getting paid for being interesting is a noble cause, except that (a. it’s not, and (b. in order to be good at something you’re good at, other people have to recognize that fact. Meaning that in order to maximize the value of the resource known as yourself, you’ve got to balance your quality of your work with your existing social influence, then leverage that relative to acceptable distribution protocols of someone in your position. Except that you also have to do something slightly out of the box, thus maximizing the worth of your “look how awesome I am” press release. Deep breaths.

Be it the consistency and quality of your funny Facebook statuses, or picking and choosing the right people to tell about your recent job interview, the attention economy rules all. Sure playing the market could get a bit overwhelming at times, but there aren’t many highs and lows quite like the one’s you’ll get here. It's the biggest love/hate game of them all, but you've gotta stay on the court. No subs.


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