Oprah and the Long Tail

I admit it, I was never one of those popular kids at high school. In fact, I was in several of the less glamorous groups: the smart kids and the music groups. And I was quite proud of this, because it was actually in line with my personality.
With networks like Facebook exploding, I’ve noticed that the popular kids are still popular on these networks for one simple reason: popular kids are good at being popular.
So what do you do with that popularity? After all, if you have a large network of people who want to connect with you, you have a lot of opportunities presented to you. Why not change the world?
The Internet enables the spread of ideas at extremely high speeds and popular kids can really amplify this spread. Oprah is the perfect example. When she blesses something with her approval, everyone notices. To her credit, she also wants to make the world a better place.
Oprah is insanely popular and we all want her to notice us. Perhaps she might notice if we simply get more popular? If you want to get Oprah to notice, take a deep look at yourself and ask the following question:
“Why should anyone care about me?”
If you obsess over the number of connections, followers, friends, fans, etc. and your goal is to be popular, the answer is that no one really cares about you. Sorry, but we don’t and Oprah won’t either.
In thinking about Chris Anderson’s book, “The Long Tail,” I’m reminded that in every category someone or something is “The Most.” Each category gets divided into smaller subcategories again and again. At each level, someone or something is “The Most” in that particular niche area.
Oprah is simply “The Most” in the category of influential media personalities. Subdivide that category down to technology podcasters and you get Leo Laporte. Subdivide that even further to podcasts about Ruby on Rails and you get Ryan Bates. If you develop for Ruby on Rails (which you probably don’t), Ryan Bates is “The Most” in exactly the same way that Oprah is, just further down the tail.
If your goal is to be popular, consider that you need to compete with Oprah, Barack Obama, Paul McCartney, Steve Jobs, etc. Each person didn’t get popular because that was their goal. Their goals were all different and personal and focused.
Do something that you care about and be insanely great, insanely generous, insanely caring, insanely prolific. But don’t do it to become popular.

I admit it, I was never one of those popular kids at high school. In fact, I was in several of the less glamorous groups: the smart kids and the music groups. And I was quite proud of this, because it was actually in line with my personality.

With networks like Facebook exploding, I’ve noticed that the popular kids are still popular on these networks for one simple reason: popular kids are good at being popular.

So what do you do with that popularity? After all, if you have a large network of people who want to connect with you, you have a lot of opportunities presented to you. Why not change the world.

The Internet enables the spread of ideas at extremely high speeds and popular kids can really amplify this spread. Oprah is the perfect example. When she blesses something with her approval, everyone notices. To her credit, she also wants to make the world a better place.

Oprah is insanely popular and we all want her to notice us. Perhaps she might notice if we simply get more popular? If you want to get Oprah to notice, take a deep look at yourself and ask the following question:

“Why should anyone care about me?”

If you obsess over the number of connections, followers, friends, fans, etc. and your goal is to be popular, the answer is that no one really cares about you. Sorry, but we don’t and Oprah won’t either.

In thinking about Chris Anderson’s book, “The Long Tail,” I’m reminded that in every category someone or something is “The Most.” Each category gets divided into smaller subcategories again and again. At each level, someone or something is “The Most” in that particular niche area.

Oprah is simply “The Most” in the category of influential media personalities. Subdivide that category down to technology podcasters and you get Leo Laporte. Subdivide that even further to podcasts about Ruby on Rails and you get Ryan Bates. If you develop for Ruby on Rails (which you probably don’t), Ryan Bates is “The Most” in exactly the same way that Oprah is, just further down the tail.

If your goal is to be popular, consider that you need to compete with Oprah, Barack Obama, Paul McCartney, Steve Jobs, etc. Each person didn’t get popular because that was their goal. Their goals were all different and personal and focused.

Do something that you care about and be insanely great, insanely generous, insanely caring, insanely prolific. But don’t do it to become popular.

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