The Changing Definition of “Weird”
I love the time we live in. The internet has single-handedly changed the flow of ideas from one person to the next and that in itself has created a revolution of how we act, look, and talk. The best thing that the internet has done for us is made the weirdest imaginable ideas acceptable and, better yet, encouraged.
If you have lived the typical life, there is almost a certain chance that someone has called you “weird.” How did that make you feel? Probably bad, and also different (probably in a bad way). It’s obvious that we are trained from a very young age to suppress anything weird about ourselves in an attempt to be more like the people around us. Up until very recently, that weird part of ourselves basically fizzled away when we went to school, got jobs, and became adults. But there is something lost here.
Our “weirdness” is what shapes our contributions to our world. The problem here is that we are suppressing the very thing that makes the world a better place. We are suffocating what brainstorms new inventions, activities, and ways to experience life. The beauty of the age we live in is the growing minority of people embracing what makes them weird and using it to their advantage. This is literally making the world we live in improve.
Weird person #1: Nate Silver
Founder of the website FiveThirtyEight, Silver has turned his obsession with statistics into something beautiful and understandable for the rest of us. FiveThirtyEight began as an offshoot of ESPN, where Silver was able to take his column and make it significantly weirder with statistics that no one typically pays attention to. The new age of sports blogging that Silver brought to the table popularized statistics and analytics for the typical (and atypical) sports enthusiast.
But then something incredible happened. FiveThirtyEight became something so different from any other content-driven engine. Instead of sticking to sports coverage, Silver amassed a group of people who used statistics and quantitative data to give us a better representation of other things like politics, economics, and even popular culture.
Silver’s obsession with numbers has changed the way I personally consume news information and I’m sure it has done the same for many other people. Instead of blindly following the opinions of my influencers, I have access to information that backs the same ideas I was disagreeing with the week before. Silver has in many ways changed the way that I and many others live our lives.
So the next time you feel weird about something, please, for the sake of the entire world, explore that feeling. Embrace the weird in you and make all our lives better because you did.