7 Trends That Changed America


When you think of the word “trend,” your mind likely jumps to the glossy pages of a magazine, where strange fashion choices are pictured on bored-looking models. But the truth is that trends have the power to actually shape our culture and move society. In these instances, the power of the trend has forever left its imprint on the world.

1. Social Media

Forbes projected that by 2020, there will be over 5 billion internet users, with over half of them accessing the internet over handheld tablet devices and 80 billion connected devices worldwide. It goes without saying that the way we communicate has forever been altered since the invention of social media. These websites and applications combine work, home, and our surrounding environment into one. With mediums such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, whether you want the news or catch up with an old friend you haven’t seen in years, you are now literally one click away.

2. Green Living

“Going Green” became a big trend over the last decade or so, thanks largely to Generation-Y. An eco-friendly, gluten-free, vegan lifestyle has been sweeping the nation and even manufacturers like Toyota (Prius) are seeing the benefits. Smart cars and carbon-neutral businesses, once an ideal, are becoming more and more popular.

3. Cell Phones

Cell phones provide us with immediate access to any information we desire. Users are able to connect with people and learn about their surroundings faster and more conveniently than ever before. From Blackberry phones, to iPhones, to Samsung, everywhere you look these days, you’re bound find a cell phone glued to someone’s hand.


4. Rock and Roll

It may be hard to imagine a time before this kind of music existed, but there certainly was one. When this trend first took over, parents all over the map thought the world was ending and that the morality of our society would crumble. The genre first took shape in 1940s and early 1950s, though historians debate its origins due to its genre-bending method of melodic expression. Regardless, from doo wop to the British Invasion to Elvis Presley to shows like “Ed Sullivan,” the spirit of rock and roll was able to cross color lines and trigger an entire counter-culture with movements like Woodstock. It would appear that the saying is right: Rock and roll IS here to stay.

5. Political Polarization

I’m sure that this is one trend everyone is sick of by now. The good news is that being politically active can initiate real change; the bad news depends on what side of the aisle you fall on. While politics in general has always been a hot-button issue, and the pendulum seems to swing both ways in due time, the real trend we’re seeing here, especially in the latest election, is division. In fact, Business Insider reports that over the last two administrations, there’s been a massive increase in political polarization, trending independently of demographic and migration shifts. While the partisan gap grows, divisions are the largest over issues such as the environment, labor unions, and immigration.

6. Traveling for Work

The ability to work remotely has made this trend more than desirable—it’s relevant and in-demand. If you’re looking for adventure, you can actually make money traveling the world. Whether you are a digital nomad, a translator, a bartender, or teaching English overseas, this 21st century lifestyle is giving an entire generation a whole new way to view the world.

7. Happiness

Wait this a trend? Why, yes. Yes it is. Out of the ‘80s and a love for materialism came a new movement, one made up of the belief that everyone deserves the pursuit of happiness. Happiness is actually a growing trend among millennials. Years ago, people were focused on survival and didn’t have time for self-introspection. Increasingly, people have the privilege of realizing that their identity can be built based on their values, interests, and goals. Since it’s written into the Declaration of Independence, and all, I for one, am happy to see this trend resurfacing in America.


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