The Bandwagon Effect: Where Do You Get Off?

Nokia, 2go, Blackberry, iPhone 6...

Do the above have anything in common?

Look closely? Can you see it?

That one thing that holds them all together.

Still haven't seen it?

Okay then, not to worry, I'll show you.

What do all these things have in common you may ask?

In the 18th century, musicians and politicians were carried in a bandwagon ahead of everyone else when going to a parade or political rally.

Wait a minute. I didn't add musicians to the list. Even parade. What's going on, Anastasia?

Nothing is going on. Yes, I didn't mention musicians. But the musicians are not today's topic, maybe next time.

It's the carriage that's our concern.

Yes, the carriage; the bandwagon.

At first, bandwagon simply meant a carriage to carry politicians and celebrities around.

But with time, it was linked with other definition and then turned to an idiom: jump on the bandwagon.

To jump on the bandwagon is a term that loosely means supporting an idea after it's been made popular.

"My money grows like grass."

"Ama kip kip."

Do these phrases ring a bell?

If it does, well, you'll just have to read to find out why it's here and what it has to do with anything; but knowing how smart you are, I'm sure you're already connecting the dots.

How many times have you done, or gone out of your way to do something simply because others were doing so?


Ah, ha, before you build your defences around my questions, I want to remind you that this isn't a polygraph. It's simply two friends gisting.

That bag, shoe, and hair you have in your wardrobe did you buy it because you wanted to buy, or because others were doing so?

How about that designer shoe, the one that looks like a King's Man made it, did you buy it without any effect?

As far as trends are involved, the Nokia phones were the pacesetters. Yeah, we had the flip Samsung's, but the Nokia express music. Wawu!

It went crazy. Everyone wanted a Nokia. For one, it could climb a staircase and not get damaged.

 You could throw it down from a 4-storey building, and all you had to do was put the battery and sim back in place, and you'll hear that calming sound, "tah tah tah tah   tah tah tah tah  tah tah tah tah tah"(I know you can hear the sound in your mind), and the two hands would touch. (Though with the pandemic, those hands would be maintaining social distance).😉

Nokia Express music, Nokia x1, and x2, Symbian phones, etc. Remember when they were the trend; when having one meant you belonged and was "woke."

Anyway, it was the vibe. Everyone wanted one, and then we had Nokia 2626. It was smoother than 3310 but had the same resilient attitude to withstand the worst of conditions.

After the Nokia, came the raze that drove secondary school students mad: Blackberry.

Heavenly bodies!

For the life of me, I just didn't understand what was happening. How did Blackberry get everyone's attention?

Students were frantic. Every girl expected her boyfriend to buy her a Blackberry as Valentine's gift.

(Notwithstanding that this boyfriend is also a secondary student😂🤣)

If you didn't have a BB, you were not happening. "Send me your bb pin" became a thing. And then 2go decided to come into play, and that was the done deal.

Crazy students with browsing phones and a 2go chat room; what could possibly go wrong?

Back then, the major problem in life was getting to the master's level, or ultimate, on 2go. A life long dream of a lot of students.

The bandwagon effect!

People went to 2go out of curiosity and because they didn't want to be left out of class conversations. Early morning classes always started with what one cute guy said on 2go. And how students joined chat rooms of 18 when they were obviously younger than that.

The bandwagon effect.

Who didn't have 2go? Who didn't want 2go? If you didn't have 2go, what were you discussing? 

With time, and I guess bad marketing skills, 2go went out of existence. No one talked about it, it was so bad that if you mentioned it, you were termed outdated.

The very same app that made people feel woke, was now a term associated with being lame. 

The bandwagon effect.

What's the bandwagon effect?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the bandwagon effect is the observation that people often do or believe what they think other people do.

My twitter account is almost eight years old, but I've only been active for three years. Why? I wanted to have one.

Everyone was talking about Twitter. And I just wanted to have one.

Some people will never go to Twitter unless there is some sort of war they want to partake in. Bank wars, university wars, gadgets wars, etc.

And LinkedIn? I'm sure dust must have accumulated over the app since you downloaded it. Some still have issues pronouncing the name, Link-ed-In. Linke-din, etc.

Are you affected by the bandwagon effect?

I'm not saying it's bad. Of course not. But how much of your decisions are not based on the bandwagon effect?

Of course, many would argue that they make their choices independent of people's opinions, and I agree.

But erm, quick question.

Would you apply for a school no one is attending?

How comfortable are you trying out items that no one has tried?

As much as we say we aren't moved by the bandwagon effect, how much of our individual decisions are actually individual decisions.

Think about it.

Remember when the movie Extraction and Old guard was released. Everyone had a say. 

(Did I watch the movie, of course, I did. That's what I do. I watch movies).

But Netflix won by making sure it was an issue on Twitter. By influencing the public, they took advantage of the bandwagon effect.

 Some said it was bad; some said it was good.

So what did some do?

They watched to satisfy their curiosity.

"People say it's bad, lemme watch and see the bad part."

"They said it's good, oh, lemme even see what's good there."

And just like that, you're watching it. With or without intention to argue, you have watched.

Movies might be far fetched, let's try something common.

Maybe the iPhone.

iPhone 6 killed people. Just 6 oh, right now 6 is no longer a big deal; but when it was released, oh dear! An iPhone was the way.

Since Samsung is seen as an android no matter the price (which I feel is unfair), people loved the class that came with iPhones.

Oh, and TikTok. Out of the boredom of our hearts came a blessed app. Everybody had a TikTok video.

Still, I'm not criticising.

I'm just showing you how the bandwagon effect can affect you.

Celebrities used iPhones. And celebrities are classy. So using an iPhone was indirectly linked with extra class and elegance.

Oh, please.

As much as we try to ignore it, the bandwagon effect can not be overlooked. It's everywhere, even within our closest circle. 

Look around you, think back to last decisions, how many of those decisions were encouraged by the bandwagon effect?

How many didn't have anything to do with it?

Purchased items, university attended, secondary school, how many were not affected by a bandwagon effect?

Baking? Selling? Learning?

I remember when perfecting a sweater baby was a neat trick in school.

It was like being a top magician who could turn sweaters to babies.

The baby sweater was the trend. If you couldn't nail a perfect baby sweater, you felt bad naturally.

What was the trend in your high school days? (Yes, I mean secondary school)

Even your college, were they any trends? Cool kids trend that separated uncool from cool.

Does the bandwagon effect easily move you? Or do you try to fight against the bandwagon effect?

Drop your comments below.

P.S. "My money grows like grass" was the writing on a top that trended when I was in secondary school. 

The top was usually black with money and grass written in green, and then grasses drawn too.

Every single guy had that top. And girls wore their boyfriends' tops to school to illegally flaunt it during lunch.

At a point, if you didn't know someone who had that shirt, you were not knowledgeable.

Just imagine. After all the reading and books and smartness, someone would call you unknowledgeable because you didn't have "My money grows like grass" top.

Or Ama kip kip.

P.S.S. I'm not in any way criticising your decision. But we can't ignore the power of the bandwagon effect.

I've given in to that power sometimes—more times than I care to admit.

Other times when I've not, it's out of sheer stubbornness.


Posted by Anastasia Damian

14 thoughts on “The Bandwagon Effect: Where Do You Get Off?”

  1. Nice Write up, I really can’t ignore the bandwagon effects. Joined 2go cos of the crazy chat rooms then.

  2. Ama kip kip 🤣🤣🤣

  3. This is all true, I appreciate your write-up dear

  4. Was going to say I am not a bandwagon person, but then I joined LinkedIn(which I don't know how it pronounce) because they said every graduate must have an account...does that make me bandwagon? 😃

  5. Curiosity! Curiosity led to the desire to feel among. Well, bandwagon has its good, bad & ugly. It all depends on individual's rightful application of bandwagon effect. We're all culprit... Thank you Anas for the thought provoking write-up.

    1. I agree that a lot of what we would or decide is based on curiosity. The need to satisfy that makes us jump on the bandwagon.

  6. Wow.. Nice one Anas.

  7. Nice one babe Las Las I'm guilty of this bandwagon thing on😂😂😂

  8. I'm guilty of the bandwagon effect. I joined 2go because then it was the hottest social media app for young ones. If you didn't have a 2go account then, you were missing out and would be seen as lame. I have watched movies because people were watching it and making comments about it. So far I haven't made bad decisions because of the bandwagon effect 🤗

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