How often do you think about the Empire of Rome? For men, it’s likely something they think about a lot. At least that’s what the newest video trend on TikTok says.
But what is this trend really? Where did that come from? Why do people care so much? How can brands make the most of these kinds of conversations?
What is the Roman Empire Trend?
As part of the Roman Empire trend, women all over the world are asking the guys in their lives, “How often do you think about the Roman Empire?”
Most people agree that guys think about it a lot, sometimes every day. What this means for women is unknown. It looks like guys think about the Roman Empire a lot more than women do.
The trend has had over 1.8 billion views on TikTok as of this writing, which is one view for every Gmail user in the world. Wow, that’s really amazing.
A simple question has turned into a discussion that people all over the internet are talking about. There have been 75% more mentions of the Roman Empire from August to September than there were in August.
This trend has been talked about on TV, helped Italy’s tourists, and even made us think about how sexism shapes history.
It’s also led to a lot of follow-up questions. What makes a TikTok trend spread to other forms of writing? Can brands keep an eye on these trends and use them to their advantage?
Also, it’s interesting to know why guys think about the Roman Empire so much.
Trends That Aren’t Just Happening on Social Media
Internet trends change all the time. Some only stay for a week, while others leave a mark that lasts for a long time. But what makes the first one different from the second one?
It’s too early to tell if this is a trend that will last, but the Roman Empire theme has left the social media bubble. It all began with a simple question on @gaiusflavius’s Instagram Reel. In it, he says that women would be surprised at how often guys think about the Romans.
Then it went viral on TikTok, where women started making videos of themselves asking guys the question. Some videos get millions of views, and they get more interesting as men talk about what makes them think these things. For example, this man likes the way the Romans built their septic systems.
Talk shows and radio stations have talked about the phenomenon, which has now spread to major media. Google searches for the Roman Empire are also at an all-time high. This trend can be seen in news stories, blogs, and websites.
It’s even turned into a saying. “My Roman Empire” is used to talk about things that people think about every day, like their favorite celebrities, movies, or even jokes that have been around for decades.
What makes this kind of trend catch on? Also, why do some trends last longer than others?
In this case, we believe it comes down to how easy it is to take part. As an example, the Roman Empire trend: anyone can join, even if all they do is ask someone they know how often they think about it. It starts a conversation right away.
A very low barrier to entry means that anyone can join; all they have to do is ask a question. This is why the trend is being talked about in many forms of media, like on TV, the radio, and even just a social media post.
Because women don’t think men will think about the Roman Empire that often, along with how easy it is to ask, this is going to become a trend that people will follow, both on and off of social media.
For brands, what can they do to join in?
Brands That Do Well With These Trends
You might think that this kind of trend doesn’t apply to all brands, but you’d be surprised at how easy it is to make content for your audience that fits popular, on-trend topics.
And the direction of the Roman Empire is a great example. All kinds of brands, from sports teams to airlines, are getting in on this trend.
Red Bull asked top driver Max Verstappen about the burning Roman Empire in a TikTok video that got over 3 million views. United Airlines, which works in a very different field, recently offered a flash sale on flights to Rome because of a trend. They also got a lot of good feedback about the sale in the comments part of their TikTok.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to be involved either. It can be as easy as a quick text post. The post below has been seen almost 500,000 times.
Brands that can connect these growing trends with their audience will see a huge boost in engagement on their own social channels. Brands that respond quickly to trends will do better than brands that don’t. This is true whether they’re just commenting on popular TikToks or going all out with a sale on popular topics like flights to Rome.
Get in on these trends as soon as possible. A social listening tool can be a great addition to your brand strategy if you want to keep up with new trends. Brandwatch can help with real-time stats, email alerts driven by AI, and powerful trend analysis. This is how it’s done.
Let’s get to the real question…
Why Do Guys Think About the Roman Empire All the Time?
There must be a solution, right?
TIME talked to historian Mary Beard to find out why guys are so interested in the Roman Empire. Also, Mary seems to believe that it’s all about giving men a place to be clearly male.
“In some ways, pretending to be a man in ancient Rome is a safe place,” she said. That’s where guys can act like tough guys. That has to be part of the attraction.”
The trend was talked about by Caillan Davenport, who is in charge of the Center for Classical Studies at the Australian National University. He agreed with her and said that most of these popular videos were “focused on ‘hyper-masculine ideals,’ where people are picturing themselves as triumphant heroes instead of most of the people who were poor and enslaved.”
Rhiannon Evans, an associate professor at La Trobe University, agrees that Rome has a lot of men. She told ABC that this narrow view of Rome comes from movies and video games that are mostly aimed at guys.
Teen Vogue dug deeper into this to disprove the idea that the Roman Empire wasn’t as manly as we’ve all been led to believe. “Much of the image that we have built around Rome in popular culture relies on outdated imaginations of the ancient world,” they say.
So, Rome may not have been as manly as we all think it was, but men today still think of the Roman Empire when they think of being manly. In these popular TikToks, guys talk about what they think about the Romans’ buildings, their economy, and even their sewer systems.
It looks like no one knows for sure why guys think about the Romans so much. But until we do, it will make women all over the world look twice.