Let’s face it. Popular culture is an enormous influence on pretty much everything and anything in life. If, for some reason, you don’t believe me, think of singer/songwriter Drake. Two years ago (and I had to actually look up the date, much to my reluctant mortification at having to type in “yolo” into the Google search box, because I am Deaf, and popular music means nothing to me), Drake released a “mixtape” of songs that featured the phrase “YOLO” —You Only Live Once, a phrase made popular by classic American movie actress Mae West way back in the Stone Age (the 40s). Right after the song premiered, suddenly everyone and their mother was screaming “YOLO!” before commencing in doing something either very, very stupid or very, very mundane like pretending it’s something very, very stupid in order to get Facebook “likes”. Despite the fact that “You only live once” has been around in its original English form for eighty years and having existed for nearly one-hundred years before then as the title of a Johann Strauss II waltz “Man lebt nur einmal!”
Bang. Just another example of how pop culture keeps influencing the world.
Need another one? Okay, how about the advent of and subsequent enormous popularity of Twitter? Twitter made popular the term “hashtag”, which, if you happen to live under a rock or in a part of the world that doesn’t have internet access, is the symbol “#” followed by a word, usually the topic of the “Tweet” or post. Example Tweet: Hashtags are annoying. #Stupid. Get it? It’s also worthy to add that while Twitter popularized the usage of hashtags, as well as the term in general (how many of us had even heard of the word “hashtag” before Twitter?), hashtags actually began to appear on Internet Relay Chat, a “protocol for live interactive Internet text messaging (chat) or synchronous conferencing”, according to Wikipedia. However, Twitter indubitably introduced the hashtag to the masses, and, as such, created a virtual monster (see what I did there? “Virtual” monster? Eh? Eh?!). Soon, people began using hashtags on other social networking websites that didn’t include the feature—such as Facebook—and, because of the wild popularity of the ubiquitous “#”, began implementing them themselves. It wasn’t long before actual human beings were including hashtags in actual human being conversation—as in face-to-face communication.
“I failed the math test! My parents are gonna kill me! HashtagOMG!”
“We’re going STREAKING! HashtagYOLO!”
“I’m going to sex you so hard, you won’t be able to walk right tomorrow! HashtagSoHorny!”
Despite the fact that anyone doing this makes me cringe with the desire to punch them in the face, people using hashtags IRL (In Real Life, for those of you not fluent in Internetese) is a real, legitimate thing humans do as a direct result of pop culture’s influence.