Insights in youth Offered by trendwolves A glimpse into the future

The indispensable lightness of lol

Joy to survive

Laughter and expressing joy and positivity, that is what this trend is all about. Growing up in today’s times can be difficult and challenging. Not only has the freedom of choice expanded drastically, the expectations of young people have accumulated as well. Amidst all of this, youngsters have to find their own way in a world full of insecurities and pitfalls. Growing up has as such become a serious endeavour. To endure these challenging times and stay spirited, joy cannot be missed out on.

Individual and societal level

Already in 1938, cultural theorist Johan Huizinga described how play is a sheer necessity in fostering culture and society. Yet humour and play are no longer considered a useless pastime. In fact, both qualities are increasingly deemed desirable, presumably more than ever, not just on a personal, but also on a societal level.

The attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January of 2015 made the whole world aware of the provocative potential of humour and propelled a discussion on censorship. The heatedness of this debate pointedly illustrated how deeply people appreciate and value humour as a means of freedom of speech. The reactions of fellow cartoonists and other people on social media emphasized the power and multiple functions of humour.

Salving humour

Since Charlie Hebdo, we saw humour as a weapon, a shield and psychological salve. Cartoons and memes are used as a means of expressing criticism about injustices, arrogance or hypocrisies that can’t socially be expressed otherwise. But as well as a coping mechanism and a natural stress-reducer. Remember #BrusselsLockdown. After the attacks in Paris in November, an official request to the Belgian citizens not to disclose details about the police operation on social media, resulted in a national outbreak of hilarious pet pics. Also after the recent incidents in Brussels, people reacted with cartoons, images and hashtags allowing humour.

Note for the future

The optimism so characteristic for this trend is extremely important to us. Our 2013 report began with the Total Lost trend. The question of where the world was heading was a prominent issue for many young people, and for us too. Now belief in fun and pleasure plays a key role and this is something we are very happy about. It is an attitude trend that will ensure a positive wave for the next five years.

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Insights in youth Offered by trendwolves A glimpse into the future

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Insights in youth Offered by trendwolves A glimpse into the future

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What this trend is about...

The ideology of laughter, fun and play

Young people are all about enjoying life. Facilitated and stimulated by the Internet, they consciously take time off to have a good time. Although they are ambitious and feel that the pressure is on, they are also very aware that the pursuit to success shouldn’t come at any price, particularly since they’ve witnessed –often at first hand- the toll it has taken on their parents as well as other generations before them. For many young people today, having fun outweighs the desire to win. Specifically on the web, humour is all-pervasive. While the masters in self-mockery are considered the new heroes, joy is increasing in power. Humour and play are gaining more ground and form a fertile outlet for self-expression, and a key ingredient for communication.

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Lolology is only one chapter of our European Youth Trendreport. To know the trends that will be relevant for the next 5 years, push the button.