Silly Bandz

Is the influence of social media overhyped?

So maybe I'm just getting old, but when just about every article about the Silly Bandz craze credits social media with the spread of the fad, I can't be the only one who thinks we're overvaluing the role of Twitter and Facebook.

Word of mouth marketing has always been the best type, and social networking and the Internet are really just amplified versions of it. But when I compare the progress of the Silly Bandz fad to a similar one of my youth (Millennials, I'm talking about slap bracelets), the colorful silicone bands don't actually seem to be spreading any faster or in a different manner. In fact, substitute the word “Silly Bandz” for “Slap Wraps” in this 1990 NY Times article, and you'd hardly know it's been twenty years since the bracelets made news headlines.

(I'll give my fellow Gen Xers a moment to pick themselves up off the floor.) » Read more

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