Damn, can y’all believe we’ve been doing this WEIRDOS thing for a year already? It seems like just yesterday I was writing the introduction, and trying to convince my superiors that calling this new section ‘WEIRDOS’ made sense, inspired by an earlier, random submission I received that I wanted to create more space for.
Today we’ve generated over 1 million impressions to this section alone, and created a social coefficient that’s hard to measure. The conversations that have been generated around these topics were the goal of this initiative, and as more of you keep talking about these issues, the entire industry benefits from our collective understanding. That said, I didn’t expect as many of you to respond as quickly as you did, and it’s been a joy to keep all these conversations going with you all in real life, and on our social platforms.
But let me put that into perspective real quick. We post ~27 pieces a week to our .com, every week of the year. That’s over 1,400 pieces a year, of which this section totals just 52. The bulk of our content is news, and features on the individuals and brands that make our community great. That means that these rants account for less than 4% of our annual content, yet were alone responsible for a solid chunk of our digital and social reach over the past year. You see, these aren’t the same as our typical news pieces, which are boosted by SEO and news roundups. No, these are seen because YOU share them, and respond to them, and debate them. We thank you for that. Even if you come to object to the point we’re making, you’re fueling the conversation, and that’s what we’re looking for. We’re not right all the time, but we don’t get anywhere by standing in place. We’re willing to be wrong if it means moving forward, and I think there’s a freedom in that. As I said in the beginning, many of these issues don’t have clear answers, and the only way we’ll solve them is by talking this out. Together.
The First Wave
Over the past year we’ve begun to tackle some of the biggest issues facing our industry and culture today. From THC % being bullshit, to the sexism that still flourishes across our ‘inclusive’ space, there have been a lot of stakes thrown in the ground in this section already. We’ve had on-going discussions, like our Indica / Sativa debate, which was most recently addressed by legendary cultivator and High Times alum Todd McCormick, and tried to guide the industry through thought pieces like ‘Our Escape’s Gone Corporate’ and ‘Shit Talk’. At times we’ve straight up thrown stones, like Joe’s ‘Standards’ piece, or Jackie‘s ‘I’m Over Cannabis Brands That Don’t Like Cannabis Users’, which found that most of the community feels a similar way, despite what the brands that are making products for ‘us’ seem to think. We’ve asked important questions, and tried to defend the trap, but we’ve just started to scratch the surface…
Although, that makes it sound like kind of a drag… it wasn’t all serious! We’ve also welcomed comedians like Frank Castillo, Mike Glazer and Steve Furey into our fold, and heard their stories, ranging from a day in the life to what it’s like trying to score on the road. Mike even wrote us a short play about being online lately! Our Canadian friend Ben told us about the first time he took DMT, and Cody made up a fake study that not everyone understood was fake. Javi reminded us that we can’t do whatever we want. We’ve gone back and forth about including tobacco in your smoke, as well as what actually qualifies as a blunt. Jimi uncovered that microdosing is just a PR conspiracy, and Ellen even waxed on her love for eating hash!
There’s been as many laughs as there have been arguments, but that’s kind of analogous to life, isn’t it? Peaks and valleys, man. It’s not all gravy, but it can be fun.
Falling Down The Weirdo Rabbit Hole
Now selfishly, I can’t believe how big my baby has grown. I knew this would work, but I wasn’t anticipating the support, or the amount of people who would want to participate. I didn’t expect the number of people to talk about it offline, or the stature of individuals it would reach. I honestly expected to have to work a little harder to get the community involved, but the sheer number of ideas that have been thrown my way for this column specifically is stunning, and it reminded me of the power of this brand, and its reach. It reminded me why I love this culture. The creativity, and off the wall ideas that pour out of our community is in my opinion the most vibrant in the world. I know a lot of people have already counted us out, or are praying for our downfall, but I’ve never been prouder of the work we’re doing.
In that regard, we’ve already booked basically every Friday through the rest of the year. The schedule says we’re full, but there’s still so much more ground to cover! And this rabbit hole goes far deeper than it seems…
So, we’re going to start trying some more stuff. Some of it might suck, all of it will be weird, but we’ll see how you rock with it. We’ll start small. Over the next few months you’ll start seeing WEIRDOS on different days of the week. More creative pieces. Short stories, allegories. Sometimes even on the weekend. You’ll see some more rich media than you’re used to over here, and maybe even some live rants on Instagram. Maybe even some music. Who knows?
While we’re not jumping into an everyday feature or anything there are so many more opinions, and voices, we can’t wait to share with you. Some insane talent has volunteered to get involved, and we look forward to providing an even wider perspective on this culture we all love so dearly. From our highest highs, to our deepest lows.
This is far from over – in fact, we’re just getting started. We hope you’re enjoying the ride!