Johannes Kleske

July 7, 2014 6:29 am

How are subcultures formed in 2014?

Now that every little odd/fresh/alternative behavior is instantly recognized, documented, discussed on Reddit and dragged into the glistening spotlight of momentary internet attention, it feels like we don’t get niches or subcultures anymore. It seems they just don’t have the time to develop anymore before being discovered.

I’m re-reading Pattern Recognition and I can’t help but think that the job of the “cool hunter” seems rather out dated these days. And if you look at the typical trend websites these days, it’s clear that they rarely find anything really new or big. It’s all small, weak signals.

Have subcultures been replaced by memes? They basically take a day now: You have an idea in the shower. An hour later, you’ve setup the tumblr, created a dozen posts and opened the submit form. By noon, you’re on all the hype machines. By 4pm, you’ve been on Mashable and Huffington Post. At 6pm, you’ve given a couple of Skype/Hangout interviews. And by 10pm, your idea has metastasized into about a dozen submemes.

But I can’t shake the feeling that somewhere else, completely outside of this instant hypeculture, new approaches to “expressing yourself” are formed that are indifferent to feeding the machine. It seems like the obvious next step. Or are we really trapped in this groundhog day of the endless meme?

Follow up question: What is the difference between mainstream culture and sub culture in 2014?