The idea of group mentality is a generally well accepted fact. What might surprise people, however, is the fact that the random interactions we have with people, affect our view of norms more than interactions with those close to us.
A group of researchers from UPenn recently looked into the effects that group dynamics have on developing social norms. Their point of emphasis was on groups arriving at a consensus for names. Although this modeled situation was different, this has been seen to affect the naming of babies. From A recent Huffpost article.
The UPenn team discovered that social norms such as names, do not develop in small-world or geographical networks, but instead develop in randomized networks much like the one that exists on the internet. A summary of the results can be seen below as explained by Dr. Centola from UPenn.
These results are just the beginning to explaining the internet and its effects on developing social norms within cultures and networks. This spontaneous development of a social norm can be seen in a variety of situations ranging from memes, to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The internet has a great power in developing social norms through random interactions with a wide variety of people. If, through research like this, we can begin to understand that formation, that is very powerful information.