How "popular" are you?
According to Adam Sternbergh, "We are all, by some measure, popular."
Which of course raises the question:
"What Does It Mean to Be Popular (When Everything Is Popular)?"
And to answer that conundrum, or at least to give you grist for your own popularity mill, I recommend that you read his article from the Sunday issue of The New York Times Magazine (and help make it more popular... by the way).
Read here: What Is, Was and Will be Popular
Sternbergh writes that "If you're of the sour view... popularity is inherently linked to mediocrity..." and that is an easily held view when you realize that Sharknado (a movie broadcast in the United States on the Syfy Channel) was a nationally trending Twitter phenomenon with 5,000 tweets a minute -- was written up everywhere -- but no one really watched it... remember The Blair Witch Project? Hmmmmm.
His bottom line though -- and one that I subscribe to -- is "micropopularity encourages creativity." There are caveats, of course, but at the end of the day, if we are open to new ways of understanding what is valuable, beyond simple aggregation of audience or dollars (by the way, this cuts both ways, to the old and the new), then culture will truly advance.
By the way, I would add that this is not a new phenomenon -- not every artist, author or musician through the ages was wildly popular in their day. Van Gogh would have been highly tweeted -- think of that ear -- but he was not a financial success until after his death... Galileo Galilei... Socrates... Franz Kafka... the list goes on.
However, here is my bottom line in trying to make sense of it all...listen:
"If the Phone Doesn't Ring, It's Me" -- Jimmy Buffett
And there you have it....
What do you think?