By an Anonymous User of Quora
Being cool. The question is so broad that there is no good specific answer, so I originally answered with just the first two words of this post. But that is circular and arguably non-helpful so let me try to improve.
Cool kids play sports, make music, are witty, are attractive, they get the girl, they are leaders (or at least they follow the right leaders), they win at life (at least in the short run). None of this is new.
What are the new things that the cool kids do? Environmental consciousness has become cool. Creating a startup is cool, if you are super successful and make something that is "actually cool." Being a hipster is cool. The definition of which is still a bit elusive.
The whole rise of "hipsterdom" has turned cool on its head. All of a sudden you have hot chicks dressing as nerds. People making throwbacks to all parts of historic culture in an attempt to be "authentic." Things that historically weren't cool, are. You can pickle things, do urban beekeeping, whatever other random things... and all of a sudden it is cool. Maybe not to the complete mainstream society but as close to the mainstream as any point in history.
Cool is becoming fragmented. You can be cool in some strange subculture and be a complete loser to the mainstream. I think this will only continue.
There will always be the blockbuster of what is cool. And even that is shifting. Though just as importantly, subcultures are strengthening. The ability to find like minded people has increased.
I am a nerd. Admittedly so. I probably am not the classical definition of cool. The above is an outsider's perspective. Luckily I have found some friends that I think are cool. And they think I am cool. And that is what matters. We shall all become cool kids if we play our cards right. I think that is the future. At least for the kids that play their cards right. And aren't in high school anymore.
More questions on being cool:
- Is there a tension between thinking of yourself as "cool" and being open-minded and curious?
- What is the best/coolest/most awesome used car one can buy besides the DeLorean?
- How was the word "geek" reclaimed from its mostly pejorative connotation?