Some additional thoughts after my last blog post.
I was going to write this, but plain forgot. This one is connected to visibility, and is very relevant for cultural production.
- Do you have friends who can tell people how awesome you are?
- Do you have high-status people who can help you gain visibility?
The flashlight metaphor
I tend to think of status like this: Every member of a community has a little flashlight – something they can use to shine on themselves or others, to direct attention.
- The higher your status, the stronger your flashlight – if you’re a high-status individual, people will look at the things you point at.
- The better you’re connected, the more friends you have that can shine their flashlights on you.
- A group of friends who keep shining on each other will get a lot of attention, and a lot of people will get jealous or angry that they’re hogging the spotlight.
- If you’re not connected at all, you’ll have to shine on yourself to get attention, and that can backfire, because it makes you look selfish.
- When you’re in the light, you better have something to show, because otherwise people will be less inclined to point at you the next time you get your chance.
- The light you receive is not directly connected to the quality of your work or person. You can be great and stand there in the dark, because nobody’s heard of you and you don’t have any friends in this community.
- Light hangs around for a bit, and then fades away.