I am weird.
My nieces and nephews will confirm this statement. They laughingly scream it at me as I ferociously keep up with them at “Dance Central.” My best friend will also vouch for the fact since she knows I can only do a cartwheel when Britney Spears is playing and can’t ride a bike without having a mild panic attack. I am who I am because of my quirks, my weirdness.
Weirdness has always been something my loved ones and I have celebrated, even taken pride in. I thought that all people valued weirdness the way I do, until I woke up to a string of Instagram notifications confirming otherwise.
I help operate the Dixie Sun News Instagram account. I also came up with the hashtag #thatweirdpersoninclass. When I initially came up with the hashtag, I was using myself as inspiration.
You see, just that day I accidentally blurted out, “Oh my gosh I thought that was the voice of god!” after a booming voice surprisingly came through the speakers in my gender communication class. My face flushed red in the moment, but I also laughed inside at myself for the next two hours and thought, “I wonder what other weird people are doing in class?”
And that was the catalyst to #thatweirdpersoninclass.
So you can only imagine my surprise after seeing a thread of comments on the Instagram photo and on Twitter claiming the hashtag was mean, bullying or hurting the Dixie Sun News reputation. I was genuinely shocked that the hashtag was received so differently than I intended it to.
The Dixie Sun News staff began doing the Hashtags of the Week in order to have more interaction with DSU students, to give students an opportunity to be featured in the paper and to provoke some laughs. As a staff member of the paper, I am thrilled when other students get involved with campaigns, send us feedback, like our photos or voice concerns. However, I don’t like being misinterpreted, and I don’t take harassment accusations lightly.
The Tweets we did get from students with the hashtag, that where completely funny and good natured, mysteriously disappeared. My guess is that they were reported or marked as spam by the select few who made me aware that they didn’t approve of the hashtag. It is unfortunate because no one can see the amusing, fellow weirdness happening all over campus.
The hashtag of the week will continue and my hope is for it to give people a little distraction from the intense pressures and stresses of life. I hope people will continue to laugh at their own, and other’s, weirdness and never allow anyone make you think that weird is bad.
Feel free to send us your thoughts via Letters to the Editor at Dixiesun@gmail.com, direct message us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, or even stop by so you can see the staff at work, our weirdness and all.