Relevance. Everybody wants to be and remain relevant. The dictionary defines “relevant” as: having direct bearing on the matter at hand; pertinent. Conversely, it defines “irrelevant” as: not relating or pertinent to the matter at hand; not important.
Justin Bieber just hit 14,000,000 Twitter fans today. I just reached 116. Which of us is relevant and which is irrelevant? Does the mere fact that “Bowl Cut”, as a friend calls him, has 13,999,884 more followers than me make him more relevant than me? And if so, more relevant to who? The world? Music lovers? Pop culture? My dog? Is Bowl Cut more relevant to my dog than I am?
I admit it. I’d like to be relevant to 13,999,884 more people than I currently am. I’d like to be perceived as a decision-maker, a game-changer, a player in the TV industry. I’d like making big bucks, hanging with important friends, getting Disney‘s Bob Iger to return my e-mails and having Olivia Newton-John‘s private cell phone number (No, I don’t have it, but I do have “Charlie’s Angel” Cheryl Ladd‘s home number though I’ve never had the plums to place a call). But with only 116 Twitter followers and just over 600 Facebook friends, my relevance rating doesn’t look so hot. Not to me. Not to you. And certainly not to Cheryl – who would surely send my call straight to voicemail.
I suppose relevance fluctuates. I once wore power ties and had a corner office a floor above Barbara Walters overlooking Lincoln Center. Certainly I was more relevant then than I am right now – in my underwear in my home office in the Mojave Desert. Tragically, there weren’t “retweet” and “like” buttons then, so I guess I’ll never know for sure. Did I become even less relevant when I was fired from that job? Absolutely. At least to my agent, publicist and business manager. Later, did my relevance rise to higher heights when I ran Merv Griffin‘s TV division and traveled on his private jets, his yacht and his thoroughbreds? How can I know the exact moment I reach my peak relevance so that I can enjoy being relevant that much more? And to be blunt, how can I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I’m more relevant than you?
I never ask a question I don’t already know the answer to. My relevance, and yours, is actually being ranked, right now, as we speak. Companies like Klout and PeerIndex have entered the race for relevance. They are judging, ranking and scoring how relevant you are online. Klout uses public data from Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to calculate an overall “klout” score ranging from 0 to 100. Things like how many times you get retweeted “ups” your score. And if Hillary Clinton retweets your tweet, it carries more weight than if I did. Eventually, scores from companies like these will be used to determine how much you pay for car insurance, whether you’ll get that promotion, even which colleges your kids will be admitted to.
Finally, relevance is no longer subjective! Relevance will actually become, well, relevant. Imagine the possibilities. If Bowl Cut walked through my front door right now, my aforementioned dog would wander over to him, smell his crotch and then lay down on the cold marble floor. When I walk through my front door, my dog jumps six feet in the air, does somersaults and practically needs sedation. If only I were half the man my dog thinks I am… Then I’d truly be relevant.