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We are all Weird
Seth Godin

October 2011


"The myth of mass
and the end of compliance"

This small book by Seth Godin is something you read through in an afternoon. It is less than 100 pages and made up of small, often only one paragraph size bits. As Seth suggests himself in this book, it might be easier to loan the book from a friend instead of buying it.
However, in this short work Seth manages to shake your world. That is maybe a bit exaggerated, but what he actually says is that we are at a turning point in history, “the most important revolution of our time” as he calls it.

He describes how mass-production and mass-marketing; the one-size fits all culture that dominated our society for decades is disappearing and being replaced by mini-communities of people dedicated to their hobbies and passions: “the weird”. Being weird, according to Seth, is not complying with what the majority of society considers normal. However, it turns out that nowadays there are more “weird people” than “normal” ones. He shows this with a Gaussian curve, where the centre of the bell contains about 80% of the population: the normal people, with 10% to the left and 10% to the right being abnormal. However, over the last few years this curve has been flattened. More and more people started to make “abnormal” choices; choices that were made by small groups only. For example, instead of eating white bread, some people chose to eat rye bread and others even chose a “weird” kind like sunflower seed bread. Thus more and more people moved from the centre of the curve, the “normal” population, to the sides. They became weird.

This weirdness mainly became possible because of the Internet and social media. People with weird hobbies no longer depend on the people in their town or region, but can find like-minded people everywhere in the world. Through social media the consumer has been empowered and now demands services and products of choice, instead of being offered only one product, the product all “normal” people buy. It also enables small businesses with weird products to reach a larger amount of customers and thus the production and sale of weird products.

Having read this book I realized I am actually rather weird, and am happy to say so.



 
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Some examples of social media and social media marketing campaigns that caught my attention:

United breaks guitars
Still an excellent example of how social media can damage a companies reputation and how this tends to stay for a long time.

 

 
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