Bear in mind this is all anecdotal, but over several years I've seen certain opinions become popular, only to tank several years to months later. I know this happens often, but it seems to be accelerated thanks to the internet. That's only a hypothesis, but I still thought it would interesting to note all of the occasions I've seen this, and discussing the possibility of human culture being cyclical in nature. Note that the following are not all-encompassing movements such as feminism and gay rights. As a white adolescent who spends far too much time on the internet, what I observe is more niche and not experienced by everyone. 1. 'Kony 2012.' I was at the beginning at Year 10 (sophomore year for any Americans reading this) when this unfurled. For a time, everyone at school was obsessed with supporting the Stop Kony movement and saving the 'Invisible Children.' Then ever so slowly, one or two people voiced their distrust with Jason Russell's intentions; probably an internal need to be 'edgy' and have a differing opinion. Then suddenly, news spread of an incident in which Russell was caught acting extremely indecently in public. The dam burst then, everyone stopped talking about Kony, presumably sheepish over being associated with Russell and his actions. (I admit, I'm probably biased when it comes to the 'one or two people' having 'edgy' views, considering I had a crush on one of them at a time and was paying more attention to her than anyone else. This brings me to my second case study.) 2.'Edginess.'Around the same time as the above, many people on Facebook (myself included) became obsessed over two individuals known as 'Carl Sherburne' and 'Tristan Barker'. Though they came from different backgrounds, these viral stars shared a key trait: being 'edgy'. Namely, this is overuse of dark humour. Constant 9/11 jokes, making fun of people with diseases (a popular target was Adalia Rose, a little girl with progeria who also became viral in 2012), etcetera. Each time someone voiced their disagreements, the stars would respond with either "it's freedom of speech" or "it's satire, stop being so politically correct", often screenshotting and posting the altercation so that their legions of followers would voice their (agreeing) opinions in an insufferable echo chamber. I followed them for a time, but then for a reason I don't remember, I fell out of favour with them. So did the rest of Facebook apparently, because they have since drawn criticism and 'edgy' archetypes are now being made fun of. Perhaps its due to their misuse of freedom of speech (it does not mean freedom to make offensive statements without any sort of consequence, surprisingly) or because the audience felt a need to be unique, and began dissenting as a result. Finally: 3. Atheism. As an atheist, I went through that 'discovery' phase where I unabashedly shoved my newfound beliefs in other people's faces. Last year I borrowed atheist and religion-themed books from a public library, and requested 'the God Delusion' for my birthday, which I then carried around with my textbooks at my Christian school. It's definitely due to my experiences on the internet: Facebook and Reddit were the same, and no doubt pushed me from being apathetic/unquestioning of religion to despising it. Nowadays I'm not like that at all. And considering this phase occurred between a year and a half to a year ago, I surprised myself with how quickly I've moved beyond that. I'm still an atheist, but I feel embarrassed to look at the copy of Dawkin's book on my shelf. While I still find many aspects of ancient religion (and modern, judging from the Islamic minority in the news) reprehensible, I acknowledge the massive role religion has played in orchestrating world history. Furthermore I am open to the idea of select Christian values (such as loving thy neighbour, serving others and not worshipping false idols (I detest modern celebrity culture)), but obviously not flagrantly anti-gay attitudes and not wearing mixed fabric (it's in the Bible). I am also interested in biblical texts from a epistemological view: wanting to learn about history and incorporating similar themes in my writing. I think I largely credit this change due to me realising just how many Christian friends I have, and that enforcing my beliefs was not worth alienating them from my close circle. At the same time however, the internet once again fell out of favour with it. Nowadays, asserting atheism online is often met with ridicule: memes such as "tips fedora" and "you must be so brave" spring to mind. Furthermore atheism is associated with negative traits, such as the 'neckbeard' stereotype: male, unshaven, internet addicted, overweight misogynists. Admittedly I match the first three of those... I apologise if it reads like I'm struggling to make an actual point, but this is a theme that keeps recurring wherever I go. If you'd like to discuss similar experiences of your own I'd be more than happy to listen. From a sociological perspective, it's fascinating how easily humans assimilate and assume the opinions of those around us without really noticing and cave in easily to mob mentality. It's also terrifying how your mind - arguably the largest factor in individuality and your own hallowed temple - can be a fashion; ebbing and flowing like a tide and so easily influenced by external factors. But that's enough for now.