Famous to the family
The way my family plays 20 Questions is that one person silently chooses a famous person and then everyone in the car has 20 yes or no questions to figure out who it is.
A variation that was briefly popular was to redefine "famous" as "famous to the family." You could announce that you had chosen this variation and then pick, say, Ziggy the painter. Zigmund might not be known to the public or the history books, but in our family, he's famous.
I'm fascinated by a new category, though. "Famous to the tribe." Is Xeni Jardin famous? Merlin Mann? What about Anne McCrossan? Never mind that Warhol thing about 15 minutes...
Everyone is famous to 1,500 people.
Some people are even famous to 3,000.
And that's a fascinating new phenomenon. When there are 3,000 or 10,000 or 500,000 people who think you're famous, who are willing to play 20 Questions where you are the answer...it changes things. We're not really prepared for a culture where a million (or a billion) people are valid answers in 20 Questions.
The race to be slightly famous is on, and it's being fueled by the social and tribal connections permitted by the net. We give a lot of credit and faith to the famous, but now there are a lot more of them. Over time, once everyone is famous, that will fade, but right now, the trust and benefit of the doubt we accord the famous is quite valuable.
Is that enough to know? You bet it is. The tribe (whichever tribe you're in) is always chewing on the next thing, discussing the next idea, processing, absorbing and moving on. Is there any way that a new book from Gary isn't going to be on our tribe's list? He's famous to the family.