Should everyone be a tastemaker?

It is now undeniably in the back end of 2015, and the idea of a tastemaker is firmly implanted in our vernacular. But just in case you aren’t aware of it, here it is:

noun taste·mak·er \-ˌmā-kər\
: a person whose judgments about what is good, fashionable, etc., are accepted and followed by many other people

Now, this label is nothing new. It’s been around for ages — arguably forever. The Catholic Church introduced us to the allure of gold in a wardrobe. Martha Stewart taught us what a home should be. Tommy Hilfiger gave us affordable style in a nutshell. Frank Sinatra used envy to portray the modern man. Be like me, and your dreams will manifest.

Subscribe and follow

However, not until recently has taste making been fully democratized. Anyone can proclaim to be one, and there’s really no way you can deny them the title. A big difference between the Sinatras, Kennedy’s, and Basquiat’s and your modern tastemaker is fame and exposure. They created taste because they dictated it. I’m famous, rich, powerful, and altogether more tapped into the proverbial popular vein — therefore, follow me. Everyone wants to be this. Let’s just add it to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs while we’re at it.

Today’s tastemaker influences on a more gradated scale. A Spotify playlist that gains modest followers can be considered a tastemaker. A YouTube star with millions of followers can shift diets, fashion, and comedy, yet be almost completely unknown to the rest of the world. Boutique clothing companies with one brick and mortar and a popular Instagram account can sway fashion in one populated neighborhood in Brooklyn. Let’s not forget Pinterest that can decorate your home, garden, and Halloween treats.

The new avenues

This intuitive desire is much easier to accomplish because of platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Spotify, and countless others. Martha Stewart controlled a major media channel — TV. Now, I don’t need that to tell you what throw pillows to use in your breakfast nook. I need you to subscribe to my channel, or follow me on Instagram. That small action is all I need.

This shift is interesting to me for one reason…should these people be dictating my tastes?

After thinking about it, the answer is yes. Taste isn’t born out of anything except the desire to inform you of what I like. “I like this, so should you.” “My music taste is well-versed and researched, therefore you will like it.” It doesn’t have to belong to Kanye — he has one taste, while Instagram is teeming with a multitude of tastes. This gives it personalization. A meaning. A better market for shopping for taste. If I don’t like it, my only barrier is unsubscribing, unfollowing, or ignoring it altogether.

So what does this mean for the future of taste making? It’s hard to say, but there’s a large shift of influence to the people that put in the time and effort to mold taste. Using a platform like Instagram now has the clout and accessibility to make a star out of anyone. These micro-tastemakers are growing. The desire to become one is growing. Let’s just let it happen, and let the hungriest rise to the top. You’ll follow and accept them if you’re so inclined.

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