Monday, March 28, 2011

A Modern Measure of Success

Once upon a time, it was fairly easy to know how successful you were. You had a couple kids (preferrably sons) a few head of cattle and a roof to sleep under. Once we gave up hunting and gathering as a standard, our need were still simple. But, as I'm sure we can all agree, modernity brings with it complexity. Still, it's not that hard to determine how successful we are. Now we measure according to how much money we have...and the standard is not the same as yester-years subsistence farmers. Now, we strive for incredible excess. And while we seek to gain far more than we need in material wealth, depending on the field of endeavor, we seek also to gain recognition, fame and/or notoriety!

Money, money, money and more money! A Good thing! Nobody "NEEDS" $500Million to live a happy life. but if somebody offered it to you...well, I know I'd take it before you could blink! But the other stuff is almost more important. Scientists work tirelessly for recognition in peer-review journals and maybe (cross your fingers and wish really hard) a Nobel Prize! Actors and musicians perform in (hopefully) great works in exchange for the love of millions (or at least a few thousand). And athletes, from dancers to curling teams to Football Clubs, they all compete to win world championships and medals and trophies! But, there's one thing that only the internet can give us as an indicator of fame! And it's not the number of people who read your blog (although that would be nice).

You're probably thinking that I'm going to tell you that the measure of success is how many followers you have on Twitter. Well, it's not. Now, you're thinking that I'm only saying that because I don't have a lot of followers on Twitter. It's not that either (although, not unlike readers for this blog, more followers would be nice). No, the real measure of how successful a person is these days is their Wikipedia page! Not just that you might have one...but how accurate it is! Let's say you have your very own Wiki...that's great! Enough people know that you exist to warrant writing a bit about you. But is your mother's name really Carol? or did somebody just make that up?  And how "big" you are defines the scope of what you find acceptable. For instance, if somebody decided to write a Wiki Article about!?, I'd be just fine with it claiming that I was born in Kenya (actually it was on Fort Knox) or that in my spare time I made moonshine in my backyard (actually ... well ... nevermind ... NO, let's not talk about it).

But let's just say I won a Pulitzer or a Grammy or whatever award somebody would win for not doing anything in particular (I want that one). Once I'm an "award-winning" anything (nominated counts too), my crazy "he's a superhero on weekends" Wiki entry turns into something much more serious. So long to that anecdote from spring break about the time I puked off the top floor balcony and bits of fried seafood splattered every balcony below before destroying the hood of some poor Honda in the parking lot! And, all of a sudden, somebody has found and posted the names of the SIX different schoold I went to in six years... not to mention the name of the school I went to in Germany...yeah, the one that even I don't remember! No more being able to joke that I might be related to the President because my people come from the same part of LowCountry South Carolina as Michelle Obama's people! Now, the world knows when that very subtle scar on my wrist first appeared and my favorite sandwich. And if I'd had a date in the past ... well... (since I don't have a Wiki page yet, we'll go ahead and skip some of the detail) you'd all know the names and occupations (just in case they were hookers) and dates of birth (just in case they were under-age hookers) of everyone I'd ever dated.

So the devil's in the details. Go look at some new up and comer's Wikipedia Entry...short, not a lot of detail, and sketchy at best. Now go look at the entry of somebody who is genuinely famous...OH BOY! Every role, a section on where and how they grew up and the story about their first gig. You used to have to wait for a biography to be published (auto or not), but now...Wikipedia is the measure of just how successful you really are!

*Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Make me a Wikipedia Entry!*
The rules
1)Must include my real name "Alfonso T. Smith III"
2)Must include my twitter handle @BrotherArson
3)Must include this blog:
4)Must include a part about me winning an award that doesn't exist!

Go forth and make me a celebrity!

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