Everything is copyable in the digital age and that's not including copyright infringement or stealing imagery. Nor is it an indictment for following the popularity curve. When something is trending on any online platform, creators are going to jump on the bandwagon. It's not an if, but a when.
The internet changed the world as a whole but social media, including the likes of YouTube, created a fundamental shift in how anyone working in the digital arts builds a business. And even if the goal isn't necessarily a traditional business, a creator had to choose at some point to engage online or not. In the early aughts anyone that wanted to be seen as established just had to have a website. You remember those 1.0 monstrosities; animated gifs, every usable font and weight, and a novel's worth of copy. We’ve come a long way in terms of design and functionality but that same demand for relevancy online still prevails. One could argue an online presence overshadows almost every other aspect of creating and running a profitable business.
But that all went into overdrive thanks to social media and sites that run on an algorithm structure. Essentially ramping up the need to not only be present online but to do so doggedly on a repeating basis, lest you fall behind in followers and the forgotten age of an hour ago. We're glossing over a million different iterations between now and then but the question shifted from "are you online?" to "are you online enough?" Do you create content monthly, weekly, or daily and where do you post it? What does that do to your creativity and passion?
Matti and Pete are two of my favorite Canadian creators (I seem to follow a lot of my northern cousins) and it's been interesting to watch them both grow over the years. They sat down to discuss social media and the trends that follow when someone discovers a new way to gain a presence. There may not be a definitive answer to any of this, and that in itself isn't a negative, but as following the trends has become normalized, are we in the end game of creating just for the sake of being trendy?