Cool kids: purveyors of trends and all things aspirational that most followers will adhere to without asking themselves why. Leaders of the free (inter)world that dictate what the rest of us plebes will wear, do, write and, let’s face it, how we’ll pose.
It’s funny to think that a mere five years ago, Instagram was not the common denominator on everyone’s iPhones. Bloggers were still just Internet stars that were only known in their respective communities and the influential youth’s reach did not necessarily extend beyond their inner circle.
Boy, how times have changed.
Whether it was ready or not, the world was about to be hit with a social media hurricane, creating a whole new segment while annihilating others completely. The traditional blogger exploded into its second coming and the ‘Social Media Influencer’ was born. The world would never be the same again.
Who knows why certain individuals catapult to levels of stardom that exceed anyone’s wildest dreams, but what’s for certain is that it happens more and more in this day and age, probably due to an uneven percentage mix of luck, hard work, and that elusive X factor. Not to mention being connected 24/7 to the digital universe. Lines between real life and social media life have never been blurrier.
Bloggers are no longer the only ones in line for the internet throne, but rather, social media has made the World Wide Web a more democratic, talent-inclusive platform that does not discriminate against any skill set. The users with six figure audiences do not claim a style expertise that they document with overproduced high-quality amateur photo shoots displayed on a website with a personalized URL. All kinds of content creators have reached the peaks of virtual stardom.
These kids – and I mean that in the most venerable way possible, as most of them are under 25 and have already achieved so much – are the new celebrities. They have modeling contracts, they have YouTube channels with millions of subscribers, they are paid astronomical fees to host high profile events, they have swag coming at them from every which way, they get booked for ad campaigns... The list goes on.
Trends originate from these power influencers, thanks to their undeniable instinct for all things rad, inevitably swaying people with their authority. Their followers are put under the spell of their magnetic personalities. The ability to make anything covetable, whether tangible or not, is not a quality that has been bestowed to all by the genetic lottery.
Tracing back the origins of fads is nearly impossible. Who was the first person to ever tag #onfleek? No one will ever really know, but the difference between you and that babe with the flawlessly undone hair and perfectly destroyed cutoffs – besides the obvious – is that she used it way before you even knew what it meant.
Doesn't matter how you cut it, these social media pack leaders we look to to give us the affirmative on cool or cold propagate the jargon we all adopt, the aesthetics we come to hold as standards, as well as the way we present our own social media personas. We even start to talk the way we write captions (#thestruggleisreal).
Those ubiquitous shots that have been popularized to the point of oversaturation-but-can’t-get-enough – like the #fromwhereistand, the legs on the bed wearing distressed denim, the playful hair flip – are all mainstays in the cool kid feeds. Their followers all emulate, often with less-than-successful results, thus justifying their fame.
The winds of this ever-evolving, ever-so-fleeting industry continue to turn, setting new standards, reaching new heights and forging new paths every day for the not yet discovered legions of fifteen year old girls with that twinkle in their eyes. The ultimate objective? More followers. Always more. There’s no such thing as too much. To infinity and beyond.
So while you’re busy still trying to figure out what it means to be #onfleek (we’re not going to tell you), the smart ones, cough, Dash Hudson, cough, will be seizing the opportunities as they present themselves.