When I applied to college, some nine years ago, my one and only pick was the Faculty of Humanities and Social Studies in my hometown. Yes, I did hear all the jokes about flipping burgers after I graduate, but let’s get back to the point.
At that time, we didn’t have an SAT-like system – every school had it’s own special entrance exam. So how do you test several thousand people, who are going to swivel into 20 different science and humanities departments? Rather than testing us on the different specifics we learned in high school, the entrance exam focused mainly on general knowledge.
Yes, those random facts and titbits of knowledge from just about every aspect of human existence. The idea behind it was that if you’re going to study something that explores the human condition, one of the key personality traits you should have is curiosity and being aware of what’s going on around you, even if it’s outside your personal interests or your area of study.
General knowledge is a strange thing, especially in a world that puts more and more stress on specialization, and narrow focus. It’s one remnant of a renaissance culture of polymaths that is still culturally valued today, even if we can’t exactly pinpoint where that random fact about mating habits of bonobos is going to come in handy. People still tend to associate general knowledge with intelligence and awareness, and it definitely makes you a more interesting conversationalist.
But, how do you boost your general knowledge? You can try memorizing random facts from flashcards, but unless you’re some kind of factoid rain man, it’ll take you a while.
Luckily, there are fun, easy and clickable ways of getting your daily dose of random facts. One of them is InstaNerd.Me, that aims to turn you into an instant nerd, obviously (and I mean it as a good thing) – and all that random info screenshots in this text come from their site.
InstaNerd started as a side project by a duo, Alex and Natasha. The idea was born with normal everyday talks between them, like -“Did you know why the sky is blue?” or -“Did you know that trees in forest tend to have the same height”:
Then it hit us, why don’t we write all these interesting facts like cards on a website and display them random. Just like we say it one to another. The fact doesn’t need a post date or order, it needs to be interesting. People will love to read it when it’s short and makes them learn new thing. They will keep clicking the “Next” button for the next fact. So we got the final formula: instant + random + having fun + learning new things. People love smart things, especially if they are beautifully packaged.
That’s how we came up with the fact card. The few lines you read got everything you need to know. You can read it while waiting the bus or when being bored. If you remember it, you can use it as a conversation starter, it can make you popular among your friends and colleagues or just improve your general knowledge.
The site was even featured on ProductHunt, and became one of the most popular projects that week, with 166 upvotes and 37 comments.
So, if you’re looking for your next hit of general knowledge and random factoids, click click click away!