Fitting in. Or not.

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The end in nigh. Well, maybe not that dramatic, but we are nearing the end of our course and it causes one to look back and consider on a deeper level some of the topics that we have looked at over four (!!!) months.

I wanted to dig a bit deeper into one of my favourite topics from this course, the concept of homophily. Indeed, it`s what this blog is named after – the birds of a feather, flocking together phrase is not just about birds. Specifically, I got to thinking about the assimilation that can come with this type of grouping – the exclusionary tactics and the…well, boring-ness, of having the same people as you around all the time. From my old friend Kadushin:

People with the same values and attitudes tend to associate with one another. Interaction, in turn, leads to a greater likelihood of common values…One must remember that homophily is not necessarily a good thing.

So then, I got to thinking about being weird. You know, weird, as in… not the same as your flock. Weird as is, Dungeons and Dragons. Or, comic books. Or running weirdos. Or dog people (like me). And well, weird is awesome. Weird is cool. But importantly, weird is different. And different today is power.

Jessica Hagy at Forbes, wrote an article in 2011 on the reasons that being weird is good. She says, “being weird means being noticeably different. It means being or doing something that makes other people stare, or laugh, applaud, or boo. And it’s something we all need to cultivate.” In the article, she raises a great point, that being different is not always better, but better is always different. If you are deviant, you can bust out of the box.

The interesting thing though is that, in being open and sharing the thing that you think makes you weird, you will likely find a network of people who share your weird hobby or interest and end up with a flock. It might not be so isolating after all. And I cannot escape Kadushin, apparently. 

It`s important to keep in mind that being weird can mean being the je ne sais quoi that is needed. So be weird. Fitting in can come with a cost, of self and of a great idea. You will find your real flock to go home to once you stop contorting your round self into the square hole.

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