I like to assume that most people think they’re unique. Whether it’s a political stance, a lifestyle choice, an interest, a job, a hobby, we all think we’re a little strange.
I just finished “We Are All Weird” by Seth Godin and i’m not really sure how I feel about it. The short piece seems to assume that there is no completely normal person, yet we as humans attempt to lump people together in a way to create a norm.
Godin writes a poignant quote, “it’s human nature to be weird, but also human to be lonely,” and maybe this sums it all up. Humans are a bit bizarre, but we seek to normalize by watching the same shows and movies, having the same hobbies, and listening to the same music.
He moves on to point out that “mass is not the center any longer.” Marketers need to stop thinking that people will conform to a norm since social media has made it easier for like minded “weird” individuals to find one another.
And then a scene from American Beauty came to my mind. In it, we have Mena Suvari portraying the popular girl that exaggerates her life yet people still idolize who is speaking with the weird guy, Wes Bentley.
Mena Suvari’s character: “Yea? Well, at least i’m not ugly!”
Wes Bentley’s character: “Yes, you are. And you’re boring, and you’re totally ordinary, and you know it.”
And this is where i’m conflicted. I understand the premise of Godin’s book: we shouldn’t force conformity when there is so much out there weirdness out there that marketing to the norm will end up in failure. However, I can’t seem to grasp that we’re all as different as he says. Sure, i’m a little weird to be blogging about this, but what about all those other people watching “Homeland” or “Breaking Bad”? They’re not weird!
But I watch “Breaking Bad” and now i’m divided. Am I a little weird? I’d like to think so, however, i’m also conforming to the norm of this television hit and I alluded to a best picture earlier in the post. Maybe Godin wants us to consider this and have inner conflict? At the very least, he wants us to stop thinking that we’re all the same and start accepting our abnormalities through the formation of likeminded groups or tribes.
Maybe we’re all a little weird.