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Popular American Culture

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America is the most diverse place in the world, on the contrary Americans insist on following the “what is in” trend. Too many factors that influence the decisions made. This paper will include a personal documentation on interactions on popular culture. In addition, this paper will cover what culture and popular culture are; three major trends in popular American culture and how does popular American culture affect personal decision making. Culture and popular culture

Merriam-Webster (2012), defines culture as the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group; also: the characteristic features of every day existence (as diversions or a way of life) shared by people in a place or time. Popular culture can be described in several ways, such as high culture or folk culture, visible, and persuasive. According to Petracca and Sorapure (2007), popular culture encompasses the most immediate and contemporary elements in our lives—elements which are often subject to rapid changes in a highly technological world in which people are brought closer and closer by the ubiquitous mass media. Three trends

Three trends that are followed daily in popular American culture are social media, media sources, and politics. Social media uses the Internet that enables an extensive number of people the means to communicate. Examples of social media are Facebook, YouTube, Blinklist, and Digg. These different sites allow people share the latest fashion trends or fitness plan to drop 10 pounds in 10 days. These websites also lets the individual’s blog, share photos, and videos, as well as comment and vote on articles that have a significant meaning to that person. Media is the next trend similar to social media; however, dissimilar. Different types of media consist of TV, Internet, movies, press (magazines and newspapers), and the radio.

We see these and hear these sources broadcasted every day at home, in the car, and at work. We see or hear what the hottest celebrity is doing and wearing, which can influence the audience to look and dress like the celebrity. The news and the local newspaper have the latest crime report that will convince the spectators better to protect themselves and their home. Technology is a growing trend in America because more people are interested in what are the newest gadgets on the market. Apple’s new iPad3, the new smart TV’s, cameras, and phones. These technology gadgets are seen advertised on media sources, discussed on social networks and are owned by friends and family, which affects if someone will buy the new gadget or not. People want what they cannot have or afford; still they seem to purchase it. The gadgets listed tie together with the media and the social media, and this proves how influential these trends are on the decisions people make. Decision making

Popular American culture controls and affects each individual differently. Men, woman, and children tend to make the decision to follow what it is “popular” to fit in and have what everyone else has. Children watch an advertising commercial about a new toy and for a young boy or girl they are going to pitch a “please can I have it” to his or her parents. If that child did not see that particular commercial he or she would have not known or asked about the new toy. Some men and women buy the item when they see something they like because men think women will like it or women think they will look better in it. These examples are how the trends manipulate the popular American culture, which also manipulates the individuals watching the television or Internet browsing. “Even if popular culture is merely low-quality amusement or a means of escaping the demands of the “real” world, it delivers important messages that we may internalize and later act on–for better or for worse” (Petracca & Sorapure, 2007, p. 6). Conclusion

Culture is a part of everyone, and people adhere to something whether it is tradition, beliefs, or values. Popular American culture is influential in each individual’s decision-making process, but it does not have to be the deciding factor. People can minimize it, but it may be near impossible to escape the consumption of popular culture because it is almost a way of life for Americans today. Petracca and Sorapure (2007), stated that pop culture offers a common ground, as the most visible and pervasive level of culture in a given society.


Merriam-Webster (2012). Culture. Message retrieved from

Petracca, M., & Sorapure, M. (2007). Common culture: Reading and writing about American popular culture (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

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