Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The weird tail continues

The weird tail continues:
In We Are All Weird, I argued that many factors are pushing us to get ever less normal, at least when it comes to cultural choices and what we buy, what we do and who we do it with. The bell curve that for so long defined mass is melting, with the outliers gaining in number, credibility and impact.
When you give people a choice, they will take it.
One big reason: the web lets us see what the other weird folks are doing, pushing us to get weirder still.
Recent data on naming released by the Social Security Administration puts this into sharp relief. The top 1000 baby names include go-to standards like Zylin, Zymari, Zyrin, Zyrus and Zytaevius. That's not surprising, because, after all, 1,000 names is a lot of names.
What's surprising is that over the last ten years, the percentage of names that don't fall within the top 1,000 keep rising. That means that more and more people are opting out of the popular naming regime, forging their own path. It used to be weird to name your kid Elvis. Now, Zyrin isn't weird enough, because we're ever more aware of where the edges lie.
Same is true with the shows we watch, the books we read and the foods we eat.
If you're chasing the masses, you're almost certainly heading the wrong direction. The masses are ignoring you. It's the weird who are choosing to pay attention, to seek out what they care about.