May 5, 2009

Trends in Technology: Embracing the Individual & the Collective

This week’s trend coverage ranges from embracing the nuances of the individual to capitalizing on the connectedness of the collective. As Mother’s Day rapidly approaches, I was inspired to purchase a handmade gift on The press was buzzing with handmade coverage in final quarter of 2008, and I wondered if the trend continued to pick up steam in the first two quarters of 2009. According to Google Trends, search traffic for Etsy has steadily climbed even as press coverage of the handmade trend tailed off. Now, with 2.3M monthly visitors and respectable month to month growth (Quantcast), we’ll have to assume the trend is alive and thrives at

Need further evidence? Felt is everywhere. Suddenly the not-so-glamorous fabric we used for crafts in kindergarden is showing up in high end home decor and eco fashion. Check out these pillows for the geek in all of us from and hand-crafted device holders from British design firm Hard Graft:

While researching the handmade trend I discovered Trendhunter a portal that “crowdsources” trends from 22,000 members who actively submit their observations from around the world. In plain english, crowdsourcing is essentially outsourcing a task to an unknown group of people/aka the general public, rather than a contractor or consultant. At Trendhunter, the thousands of submissions made by members are compiled into micro trends and trends, which are packaged and sold to clients such as marketers, agencies, and design firms. Members are paid for a portion of the Google advertising revenue generated from their postings, and can benefit from increased exposure to readers. In many ways, Trendhunter is an ingenious business model made possible only through technology, however I can imagine the final product (trends) would flounder without a guiding editorial hand to sift through and weave stories from, well, golden tightsand prison fun scenarios. Any planners or strategists care to comment on their methodology?

Finally before my head hits the pillow, I’ve stumbled across my first completely meaningless crowd-sourced trend (aside from the aforementioned golden tights and prison fun scenarios.) Tonight on Twitter, the term “Facebook Money” emerged as a trending topic. With a little investigation, it was clear it was purely an inside joke that was quickly embraced by thousands of Twitterers. Kind of cool, but was it trend-worthy? Or are massive inside jokes shared among strangers the next trend?

You can now follow me on Twitter @iheartflooz.


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