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Outside the Box

January 12, 2011

No one likes to be defined by solitary boundaries.  We all want to be out there, be unique, and leave people pondering just how interesting and deep we really are (unless, of course, you want to carry the air of an airhead and then just leave people wondering how someone could really be so shallow).  We don’t want to be the stereotype; predictable is boring, outdated, and just plain blah.

We continually hear the phrase, “Think outside of the box,” when really, those who are saying are encouraging others to do what society already wants us to do:  be in the box so that we can be categorized neatly, but do it in a way so that people already believe you are unique.  Tricky, right?  Think about it.  In psychology, we learn that companies call together focus groups to discuss how a new product line will sell.  Objects that are “new” and “hip” tend to be still well within the box, just upgraded and spiffed up.  The iPod, for example, wasn’t revolutionary for playing music.  We already had portable music players, and while they were “so yesterday,” they worked.  And the majority of people were happy with them.  When the iPod came out, it was still hanging out inside the portable music box, but it got the plush corner office because it didn’t involve carrying about multiple CDs or cassette tapes.  Was it a culture revolution?  Absolutely, but the idea still fit neatly into a category.

Smart phones are the question mark at the end of the technological sentence.  It’s a phone, and a computer, and a camera, and a… the list goes on.  So where do we fit it?  Well, look at the title.  If it were bigger, we would certainly call it a computer.  It has almost all of the computer capabilities, plus more, so why not?  But it’s small, like a phone, and since it originated as a phone, we’ll call it that.  Why not create a new name for it?  Well, that would be creating a new category, something a lot of people’s brain’s may not be ready for.

As humans, we look for the easiest way to get the most, or most important rather, information.  We want to know and we want to know now.  Trends tend to pick up, and people almost expect you to follow along (for those of you who don’t know psych, it’s called the “herd mentality.”).  Weddings are no exception.  I have noticed this about one of my favorite wedding blogs, WeddingBee.  When I was applying to be a writer for them, I had all of these ideas about what made me different as a bride.  We were having our wedding on a bridge, which certainly stands out as unique.  We had a smaller budget, I was primarily doing projects on my own as I went through my first year of teaching, and we were doing planning while in a long distance relationship.  I was sure I would get in.  They like people who are different, right?  Well, maybe not.  I was rejected three times, and it made me take a step back for a minute to really look at the people who got to become bloggers.  There are patterns within the ranks, and while they seem to be “different” when they are introduced, almost every blogger who follows through with their weddings ends up with the same statements.  Here are the patterns:

1.  To have better chances of being accepted, you must: A. know someone who has already been a Bee, B. live in or very close to a large city, or C. fit into specific ethnic groups (though this pattern is definitely changing)

2.  Once on the blog, a blogger is “SUPER EXCITED!” to be there, does a few entries about how they met, etc. and then takes a break.  Some take breaks so long that we forget who they are and need a refresher course later.

3.  DIY projects are everything.  Go big or go home seems to be a familiar motto.

4.  If the blogger does go through with everything, most of the wedding is A. DIY, B. expensive, and C. highlighted as “what really made the wedding a masterpiece.”  Um, what happened to the love you feel for your now-husband?

5.  Recaps of the actual event take typically more than a year to cover.

Now, I’m not here to bash WeddingBee.  I am actually a big fan of theirs and have gotten some awesome ideas for different projects.  The bloggers seem like true women who are trying to put together their wedding celebrations.  But what about the others who don’t have $20,000 to spend on their weddings?  Smaller budgets have become more popular, but when you look at what people are showcasing, it’s hard to imagine that the budget I had for my own wedding to B would go very far on that particular blog.

I think this may be why people don’t understand the power of personal blogging.  Sure, the general public understands (for the most part) what a blog is.  Celebrities have them, news channels have them, people getting married have them.  But the kind of blog seems to matter to people.  “What do you write about?”  Somehow, the answer of “anything” doesn’t seem acceptable anymore.  You have to focus to be recognized.  You blog needs to be about either food, DIY projects (small), DIY projects (big), being a newlywed, babies, politics, teaching, weather, travel, fitness, techniques in how to pick out the right underwear, etc.  Why can’t we be all of these things?  What if I want to talk about three on one day and then five on the next?  What if I build an awesome bureau to house all of my Italian newlywed underwear that happens to make my butt look good because of a few workout tips?  Do I have to have five different blogs for that?  What’s the point?

My point is that you, dear readers, cannot categorize what you will read here.  Sure, it’s labeled as a newlywed blog, but B and I are so much more than that.  We’ve been together for 9 years next month, and there are so many more sides to us than just our relationship.  So don’t hang out in the box.  Build something new!  Personally, I like swings.  Let’s all jump on our own swings and find what is really unique and special.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 12, 2011 6:01 pm

    SO TRUE! I’m jumping on the swing too! My blog is a personal blog. I do it because I enjoy it and because my husband likes to read it. If I get some other readers and comments, thats awesome. But I definitely dont fit into any typical blog category! My blog is about…life and everything! And I definitely agree with you about the Bee blogger trends. Although there have been a few bees who have modest budgets or even small budgets but the majority of them have AMAZING photographers, late night snacks, gorgeous DIY details, etc, etc. Its definitely not the reality of most of the weddings out there! Sorry you got rejected 3 times- but think of it as not having to have another time commitment in your life!

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