I’ve been recently trying to figure out why so much of the most popular fiction at the moment is post-apocalyptic, and why a lot of television programs are exploring these end of days sort of scenarios. I mean, these have always been popular but there just seems to be this major influx onto the market recently.
I reckon that part of it has to do with the cycles of popularity which underlie most of post-modern culture. For example, someone makes a video of a bottle flip. How does it become viral? By being shared and re-posted. Then you get copycat videos. Soon every man and his dog are posting videos of them doing bottle flips up onto the internet. This is what I would like to term a cycle of popularity. Sooner or later it drops off, or at least that’s what you would expect. This is what happens with viral trends, it doesn’t always apply to books and movies. You see, I believe that the bell curve for books and movies is much slower than a viral trend. A viral trend requires a quick upturn and needs to be snappy, but for books and movies they need to start building a small following and then when a movie or book of a specific type or idea becomes popular then people begin to bandwagon and you get a massive influx of all these books, movies, and tv programs centred around these concepts.
A good example of this from the past few years would have to be “The Hunger Games,” and “The Walking Dead.” These were both books of differing style, which were slated to become immortalised on film. Once “Hunger Games” was announced as a movie and the trailer was released, a lot of people went and bought the book to see what it was all about before they went to see the movie, myself included. The fact remains that there had to be a group of people who already enjoyed these books before they would consider making it into a movie, and so the cycle of popularity works both ways. A similar thing happened with “The Walking Dead.”
Having examined this, then perhaps the best way to create a movement is to combine the two ideas. The flash fire type movement building of a viral trend, then followed by the slow upturn of the book and movie cycle. The question then I suppose is how do we apply this to our interactions with people around us? How do we push forward this idea of the Faceless Generation?
It takes a few people to start a movement. The leader, and the first few followers. This how a movement starts. The way a movement continues is determined by these cycles of popularity. A flash fire followed by a continuous upturn, perhaps followed by another flash fire as the growth continues, and so it continues. I suppose the last question to ask then is how do we keep the upward momentum? If you climb, you always have to drop afterwards, so how do you keep your movement from dropping too far after a peak? Maybe we’ll explore this at a later date.