While doing a SXSW talk with Chris last week I stumbled upon this analogy for channels and popularity.
Here’s how it works. Everything has gravity, but most objects don’t have enough gravity to bring in other objects. Likewise, the web is filled with personalities that have a kind of social gravity, where some are dragged to others, and others pull others to them.
If you are a moon, you get dragged into other people’s orbits and it’s hard for you to develop something of your own. If you’re a planet, you have enough gravity to drag smaller masses into your own orbit. If you’re a star, you’re the most powerful of all– stuff happens around you without you having to do much at all. You pull others to you.
We could continue this analogy in both directions (asteroids, black holes, etc.) but I think you get the point.
The larger your mass + gravity, the more things happen around you. Things become easier, and meeting people does too. Everything falls into place in a much easier way. People who are at these stages understand this instinctively.
Why do we even use metaphors like this in the first place? I’d argue it’s because our world is increasingly digital and, with that, we need real-world metaphors to ease understanding of things which we cannot hold in our hands or see with our eyes. Just like Mark Hurst’s argument from Bit Literacy about todo’s being easier to understand if they are physically represented, giving ideas metaphors gives them handles, making them easier to grasp for most people.
So it isn’t about popularity, it’s about gravity. Be a planet, not a moon; be a star, not a planet. Increase your gravity and things will start to happen around you instead of you having to work so hard to bring them in. Get it?