Archive for September 13th, 2010

One of the absolute worst things about the internet and the current internet generation (anyone who’s grown up with internet from a fairly young age) is that it reinforces the already overly hyped idea that we are all special snowflakes.

I remember, as a kid, being told by many people how special and gifted I was. And, to be fair, I actually was higher than average intelligence (still am, although I haven’t had an IQ test since middle school), but so are a lot of people. Most (middle class, white) kids of my generation were raised being told we could be or do anything. Even kids who weren’t that smart were told this, because goodness forbid they get their precious feelings hurt by a teacher or whatever. While I understand the logic behind this, in that no one really wants to be the one to say “y’know, you’re not that smart, the chances of you ever getting into Harvard and becoming president are slim to none”, it doesn’t really do anybody any favors.

Unfortunately, the internet has done nothing to dissuade the “special snowflake” phenomenon. From pretty early on, anyone who could teach themselves basic HTML (or follow a tutorial or a cookie cutter website’s instructions) could make a website. Social media such as Facebook and MySpace have only streamlined this process, making it easier for people to put themselves out on the internet and spam everyone they know with the same three pop songs over and over and their misguided attempts at poetry (which I myself have made many attempts at, may they never see the light of day). Let’s be honest, there are very few people who have anything unusual to say. You can make your profile all about how you’re a jaded cynic and everything is stupid and why do people even try to do things, and trust me, you’re not original.

The sad truth is that most people are average. That’s what average is, generally, the largest group right in the middle, at the top (or bottom, depending on your outlook) of the bell curve. And average means that you’re not special. You’re not original, you’re not the only one to have those feelings or ideas, and most of us outside your immediate family don’t give a crap about them either.

I’m not going to launch into a defense of my blog here, though. I’m probably right smack dab in the middle of some averages myself, in terms of writing ability and overall blogging skill (and possibly other things, I don’t pretend to know). It’s kind of depressing to think about how not-special most people are, with the unspoken worry that you’re probably one of them. But deep down, we’re all fairly self-absorbed. It’s not a bad thing, really, to look out for yourself to a certain extent. It’s kind of necessary to survive, to make sure you look both ways before crossing the street, and to try to not go into bad situations when you recognize them as bad. And despite the fact that we know, with absolute certainty, that 95% of the human race is average, we still want to believe we’re in that top 5% who are just more awesome than anyone else. I mean, what’s the point of trying, otherwise?

Still, I think some people could stand to be more realistic about their own skills (and those of their offspring). If you barely know how to turn a computer on, please, don’t try to build your own website. It’s better for everyone, I promise.

A deep thinker at work.

I was going for a sage nod here, but you can't tell because it's a picture.


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