I’ll never forget the first time someone called me weird.
I must have been around six or seven years old, and I came home from school all upset. I can’t remember exactly why it happened — could have been something to do with my creepy obsession with hamsters, who knows — but I remember that it wasn’t some random bully that called me weird. It was my friend. And that made it so much worse.
I cried to my dad about it and without missing a beat, he launched into this feel-good talk about how being different was a good thing.
The most memorable part was when he said “Imagine how weird people thought Henry Ford was when he strapped a motor on the back of a horse and buggy. ‘There’s goes crazy Henry, put-put-putting down the street!’ Everyone said he was weird for trying something different. But that weirdness invented cars.”
(Sidenote: Yes, I know that Henry Ford didn’t strap an engine onto a horse and buggy, and so does my dad (I’m pretty sure.) But, hey. Storytelling liberties.)
Why Weird Rules the Internet
After that talk, I remember instantly feeling better. Weird people have done amazing and world-changing things because they weren’t afraid to let their proverbial freak flags fly.
When it comes to your copy and content, weirdness can be a really great thing. It’s such a cool time to be alive because weirdness is being celebrated like never before.
People like The Fat Jewish have built entire brands around their weirdness. This guy is a perpetually half-naked New Yorker who styles his hair somewhere between Pippi Longstocking and a yarmulke. And people can’t get enough. His content isn’t all original; in fact, he pulls most of it from other comedians. But it’s the way he captions it, his irreverent and random commentary, that keeps people coming back for more.
He’s sexy weird and he knows it. And that’s why he’s so loved.
No matter what your brand or industry, you can benefit from peppering some “weird” into your Signature Blend™. It’s what makes us human. Relatable. Likeable.
My particular flavor of weird looks like a newly purchased egg cooker and greek yogurt maker — immediately after I decided to live simply and stop buying anything I don’t need.
It’s about insisting on keeping a paper and Google calendar…simultaneously…with the exact same events in both.
It’s about challenging myself to re-read the entire Harry Potter series by December…because that’s my idea of a good time.
Bringing your weird into your content and copy is an effective way of letting your audience know you — the real you, not the polished up Photoshopped version. It also makes you stand out from all the other [[INSERT PROFESSION HERE]]-ers there are out there.
Weirdness makes you both irreplaceable and irresistible, all at the same time. (Tweet this!)
But When is Weird, like, TOO Weird?
So, we agree, right? Weirdness = good. Normalness = boring.
Now the tricky part is bringing your weirdness into the world in a way that won’t freak everybody out.
There are three basic questions you can ask yourself if you’re wondering if something is too weird to share online:
- What would my mom say about this?
When you’re not sure if something should be shared, use the Mom Test first. It gives you a good gauge for whether you’re in the realm of “good for you for being yourself, hun!” or “for the love of Pete, what are my friends at bridge going to say?!” (The mom I’m picturing is 85 years old, apparently.)
Granted, this will vary depending on your particular brand of mom. But it provides a great baseline approval rating, and helps you know if you should keep it to yourself, or move on to the next two questions.
- How would I feel if this was broadcast on the news?
The fact is, what you say online can be seen by anyone. Anywhere. Anytime. And there’s no way to really erase it.
So you have to imagine that there’s a news report talking about you and this weird thing you’re sharing. Are you feeling embarrassed and wishing you never shared it? Or are you saying “cool, now everybody knows!”?
- Am I okay with this piece of weirdness partially defining me?
Every piece of content you share says something about you.
In putting your weirdness out there, you’re making an impression. Some people might quickly move past it, while it might stick with others for a long time. Are you okay with this little bit of weirdness becoming part of your brand?
If you feel good about all three of those questions, weird up, my friend.
When is a time that you felt weird?
What made you feel that way, and how did you overcome it?
What does your flavor of weirdness look like?