The playing field of who and what we want to identify with and aspire to be and do has expanded. It has also reorganized our communities under different personality cults: more generous, pro-social, and giving.
This is important. Thanks to platforms like Instagram, Twitch and TikTok, our consumption choices across categories are now more susceptible to social influence than to individual preferences – although, as we’ll see, TikTok operates somewhat differently. But how we influence each other is unpredictable. A celebrity cannot make popular a product no one wants. At the same time, we seek ideas and trends that capture our imagination, conversations, and a cultural moment.
Social influence rests on the fact that, when faced with an abundance of choice, we habitually rely on others to know what to buy, read, wear, or listen to.