The Pitfalls Of Only Using Social Media To Research Trend & Style

There is a tsunami of trend washing over us. Visual mediums like Pinterest and Instagram send waves of colour and design trends to our feeds. So how do we navigate through this constant barrage and how do we determine what is relevant and what is real?

The social media generation is also the age of the algorithm. Our filtered feeds become a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you search for, click on, download, screen shot or research a product, a brand, an influencer, a destination – anything at all – the algorithms will pick up on this and fill your feed with associated information. So in turn, if the algorithms find that your interests are focussed on a particular aspiration – for example – Opulent, Grounded, Escape, Nostalgic, Ordered and Playful – guess what you will see in your feed? Exactly. More of the same. But does more of the same mean that is what is most popular, or what the algorithm thinks you want to see? We get fed what we look for, which is more of a reflection of our search behaviour than it is of society’s patterns.

Image by Geeky Gadgets

If your online searches are steered towards Kelly Wearstler, Studio McGee or Restoration Hardware – these are the products and trends that will fill your feed. Or if you are searching for DIY decorators, Pantone colour trends, retro trends or leading mid-century designers, associated online advertisers will be served to you on a platter. This filtered feed is not a reflection of what is happening in THE world, it is a reflection of what is happening in THAT world. Personal filters influence the algorithm, which influences what we are fed, lulling us into misinformation and a false sense of reality.

Image by Main Street Host

Pinterest is a fabulous platform for personal albums and collations of ideas, but it is a rabbit hole. One click leads to another which leads to another, taking you into a maelstrom of ideas that may or may not lead you to where you want to go. And keep in mind, the path we are taken on is not chronological. Often outdated, what we are fed can be completely irrelevant to today’s landscape.

It then stands to reason that consumers will generally search for products and designs that fall into certain categories and trends. That’s perfectly fine of course. However as product developers, interior designers, retailers and buyers, it is imperative to have a wide view rather than a tailored, tunnel view. In order to avoid a false perspective, one that doesn’t provide a holistic view, it’s so important to avoid using any social media as a fountain of knowledge. Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest of course serve their own purpose, but they provide a tailored catalogue of purchasing opportunities rather than an educated assessment of global patterns and emerging trends. They do not serve as a doyens of design.

So what is the solution? If you are looking for considered, assessed, thoroughly researched trends that are based on a global and time-relevant analysis, you need to work with those who spend the time finding out what you need to know. MC & CO Trend is not influenced by any personal filters. Instead their team looks at over 20,000 images each season, filtering them through their Trend Intelligence System to determine where the movement is, where the strengths lie and what the power is in relation to commercial applications for each aspiration. They investigate the world of product development, of design, of trade fairs, of wholesale and retail, and the team deep dives into buying patterns and customer data to derive conclusions that provide a global view and associated trend forecasts. The assessment and digestion of all this unfiltered information leads to a qualified, intelligent approach to the world of design trends.

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