An example: Tourists at the leaning tower of Pisa all doing the same (clichéd) pose.

enter image description here

Is there a single word for such behavior? It's not a flash mob, obviously, because it happens all year 'round. It's not mirroring because it's not subconscious behavior, but something very intentional. It's not synchronicity because it's not a spontaneous thing. It's not aping or copycatting either, since people aren't (necessarily) mimicking anyone in particular.

I suppose it's ritualistic, but that seems too serious for something so silly.

I suppose this behavior constitutes a meme, but I'm wondering if there's a better word for it. Or for the act itself; the act of participating in and propagating the meme.

  • It's not just tourists that can't resist the "same old tired/lame joke". There's something about some of us humans that makes us incapable of resisting making the obvious joke even though we know it's been done a thousand times before. On the other hand, why take the same stand-in-front-of-it-and-smile picture when you can do something more interesting. duckduckgo.com/?q=posing+with+statues&iax=1&ia=images
    – ColleenV
    Apr 28, 2016 at 16:43
  • I think "cliched", which you mention in your question text, is actually the best word for this. You could also say "predictable". Apr 28, 2016 at 16:44
  • This is madness. Or fad, craze, fashion, trend?
    – NVZ
    Apr 28, 2016 at 16:59
  • They're doing the same thing, you say? They are "enjoying themselves", I believe
    – NVZ
    Apr 28, 2016 at 17:03
  • 1
    Not any better than “meme,” but you could say “It’s a thing! “Tourists taking the same silly photos? It’s been a thing since Kodak made the first Brownie!”
    – Papa Poule
    Apr 28, 2016 at 17:21

3 Answers 3


The tourists behave like lemmings or like the sheep of Panurge (Rabelais - France - 16th Century)

enter image description here

You may also say that they are "blind followers".

  • 1
    Yes a co-worker also mentioned both sheep and lemmings (and of course sheeple, in jest). But those imply flocking or herd behavior, and here it's small groups or couples that each choose to act out a more complex thing on their own. One poses, another photographs it. It's carefully and individually staged, not just follow-the-leader.
    – Flambino
    Apr 28, 2016 at 16:40

Herd mentality?

Herd mentality, or mob mentality, describes how people are influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors, follow trends, and/or purchase items. Examples of the herd mentality include stock market trends, superstition and home décor. Social psychologists study the related topics of group intelligence, crowd wisdom, and decentralized decision making. [Wikipedia]

Also - Clichéd Photo Poses


This doesn't quite capture the silly or superficial aspect of what you're getting at, but you could just use tradition (or silly tradition):

a long-established or inherited way of thinking or acting: The rebellious students wanted to break with tradition.

If you want to be a little different you could go with instituition (or silly/cultural institution):

a well-established and structured pattern of behavior or of relationships that is accepted as a fundamental part of a culture, as marriage: the institution of the family.

Source: dictionary.com

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