Saturday, April 01, 2006

Why Cool-Hunting Sucks in '06 (part 1)

Cool-hunting always has an agenda.
That is, to identify new means by which to pry the disposable and indisposable income from (psychographically) young adults' debit and credit cards. Cool-hunters conduct research with the intention of finding new ways to make you believe that you're irrelevant -- unless you buy certain products, and buy them first or most frequently. Cool-hunters operate under the assumption that you will pay dearly to allay your fear of not belonging. They make a shit-load of money selling what they know about your behavior to corporations and their marketing / advertising agencies, whomever's willing to pay for an alleged glimpse into the minds of their target markets.
They spend their days sifting through reams of market research data. They conduct endless surveys and focus groups. They comb the streets, the schools, and the malls, hot on the trail of the "next big thing" that will snare the attention of their prey--a market segment worth an estimated $150 billion a year.
- Douglas Rushkoff's Frontline documentary, "The Merchants of Cool".

The merchants of cool are more clinical than the hunters of cool, apparently. Most cool-hunting sites, blogs and newsletters are not observing trends, but whole-heartedly participating in and endorsing them. These self-proclaimed experts are merely absorbed in passing fads, and frequently plagued with an inflated sense of self importance - possibly a product of the general arrogance of the blogosphere. (Being able to publish your every whim in a world-wide medium does not make you an expert.)

Anyone can say what's cool and what isn't, and, really, there's much less genuine value in something anyone can do.

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