Does Popularity Equal Quality?

By Ana D.

Does popularity equal quality? Good question. Though many of you may not have noticed this, oftentimes we buy things that seem popular, or things that other people have. Why do we do this? Perhaps it is because we believe that just because many other people have this item, it must be good. Unfortunately that is not always the case and a combination of clever marketing tactics with peer pressure may drive us to buy something that we later regret. An example: Nike shoes are very good quality right? Wrong. Recently I bought a pair of bright blue Nike runners and wore them about five times before I went to go play soccer. About ten minutes into the game I kicked the ball towards the net and a huge slit appeared in the mesh on my right shoe. I bought those shoes from the kid’s section (because I have tiny feet), they shouldn’t break just because I played soccer with them. I am positive that other children use their shoes on a daily basis, so having a pair that breaks on the sixth outing is less than ideal. Now, I know that perhaps the shoes I got could’ve been a bad egg but the point remains: I bought those shoes because I had seen many people wearing similar ones and I believed Nike to be a good brand. Had the brand been less popular I would have bought a different pair and perhaps I would still have running shoes.

 

Although there are overhyped (and often overpriced) products that just fall short of expectations (ahem, Starbucks), there are some things that are popular and of good quality. An example of something that has both of these traits is Apple (I know, I know, hear me out.). Apple products may be extremely expensive and popular but they last. Many have their parents’ old iphones, phones that have been used for three years or more and handed down to the child once the contract expires and a new phone comes out. Aside from being a bit slow and the screen a little more prone to shattering when dropped, these old Apple phones still work well. Many students in grade nine at Westmount Charter School still have the school issued laptops. These MacBooks are nearing their fifth year of life and despite the maltreatment (Let’s be honest, we’ve all dropped our laptops at least once.) most of the them still work quite well and despite being slow, are far from needing replacement. Apple may be overpriced and overhyped but you can’t deny that they do their job for years on end.


Moving on to the social aspect of popularity equals quality: How many times have you scrolled through your Facebook or Instagram feed and noticed a really bad picture or post of a popular person. Perhaps, they were wearing an ugly shirt, or their smile looked fake. Perhaps the point they made in the post was shallow and weak. Yet when you look to see how many likes they got for their lame attempt for attention your jaw drops. How did this piece of garbage get 121 likes?! The answer is simple: because they are popular. Had the same post been made by a so-called “nerd” there would be people commenting to complain that there is no “dislike” button. So just because these people have higher social status, they get more respect no matter how much the actual content is lacking in quality. The same double standards go for celebrities as well. When Jennifer Lawrence tripped on her way to receiving her award she was considered “adorable” and “down-to-earth”. If I tripped on my way to getting an award (not that I have ever won one), I would be considered “clumsy” and “a disgrace”. Same goes for any less liked celebrity. Sometimes of course, a popular person may post something truly worth “liking” but the unfortunate fact is that if a less popular person had posted the exact same thing they would get a lot less social approval. So does popularity have a correlation with quality? My spidey senses say that most of the time the answer is no, popularity only increases perceived quality.

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