Last year around this time, I was asking people on all 5 of my blogs to vote for me in blogging in the Shorty Awards online competition. This year I’ve decided totally against anything like that for my own sanity, pride, and peace of mind.
What’s the deal? Last year at this time I was feeling as though I was actually something sort of special. I had a highly ranked blog, was writing lots of posts everywhere, starting my Black Web Friday series because I just knew that I had the juice to get things done, to change some minds, to actually make a difference.
You know what; none of it made a difference. I got 26 votes in the Shorty category after working it hard for almost an entire month. Not only did the Black Web Friday series mean nothing to almost anyone but it didn’t mean much to the people and websites I profiled either; they didn’t care. And even though my blog was ranked nicely then, around 78,000 on Alexa (don’t give me any grief about Alexa; I don’t want to hear it), the rank is now sitting around 160,000, even with consistent posting, and feels like it’s falling fast (although traffic has been up since the beginning of January & Alexa works on a 3-month model so within a couple of weeks it should start moving up again).
Some of you know that I’ve written a number of posts on the topic of influence, and why having influence can help you not only make a better income, but get things done in ways that being more anonymous, or irrelevant, can do for you. Well, while that’s still true, it seems that irrelevance is destined to follow all of us around for a long time, which is basically our entire lives.
That almost sounds depressing doesn’t it? Well, I’m not going to let it go quite that far, but I do need to explore this topic a little further. How many of you folks who read this blog know the name Chris Brogan? What about Scott Stratten, or Gary Vanderchuk or Marcus Sheridan or Ileane Smith? In blogging and social media, these are pretty big names. Take them out of blogging and put them on the street, and maybe one day in six months someone will walk up to one of them and say “Hey, aren’t you…” So much for influence or relevance.
Want more examples? How many people think of Tony Orlando these days? What about Brittany Morgan? Ric Ocasek? Michael Anthony Hall? Robert Townsend? All of these were super huge names at some point, all had influence in multiple ways, and all have, or seem to have, disappeared; I bet most of you have no idea who any of those folks are.
You want more? The nominations for the Academy Awards just came out last week. I knew almost none of the movies and almost none of the actors and actresses who are up for those awards. Last year’s Grammys, I asked myself why I would even think of watching it when the only name I knew that I’d heard of previously was Taylor Swift; that will be the same thing for this year’s ceremony, another one I won’t be watching.
See, we’re not alone. And truth be told, the guy who got the most votes for blogging last year was totally unknown in the United States, so even though he got an award, what did it get him in the long run? Maybe in his country he was elected Pope (I know, I know…).
What does all of this mean? Do we stop trying for significance? Do we stop participating in social media, in blogging, in our local activities and such? Do we crawl into bed, watch TV and eat chips and give up the rest of our lives to this reality?
Ain’t no way! Here’s another truth; we’re not as irrelevant as we think we are. For all the lack of relevance I’m talking about here, there are nearly 375 people who are subscribed to the feed for this blog. There’s lots of people higher but I’m happy with that figure. There’s nearly 300 subscribed to my main business blog. And I have a nice number of people subscribed to my business newsletter, though I couldn’t tell you if people are reading it or not.
The videos I do with my Hot Blog Tips Hangout crew have reached close to 8,000 views; that’s not bad for just over a year of videos; at least I think we’ve been doing it that long. My own video channels are quite paltry by comparison, yet I have had some views so I’m not complaining.
In other words, irrelevance doesn’t mean obsolete; it doesn’t mean hidden, and it doesn’t mean useless. Each of us, through our blogs, our outside actions, what we do at work, etc, are relevant to someone. That’s important to note because sometimes we feel as though no one notices what we do. We want more comments on our blogs; we want to make more money across the board; we want people to call us up and tell us how much they want us, need us, can’t live without us.
Tough to be us isn’t it? Well, here’s the thing. We are what we are. We can decide to try to be more, we can decide to try to be better, or we can try to be ourselves. Frankly, being ourselves might or might not put us over, but what more comfortable spot is there when all is said and done? Strive to be the best you can be, strive for bigger and better things if that’s what you want. But when you start thinking about insignificance, think about someone else. You are special; we all are.