Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Why Twitter is Like High School
I've come to the conclusion that you can equate pretty much anything with high school. My first cool job out of college was at a local weekly newspaper. I forget who started it, but someone divided up the different departments into high school cliques and it was disturbingly accurate. Editorial was the yearbook committee, classifieds was the drama club, accounting were the band geeks, advertising were the cheerleaders/football players and the production department was the smoking section. The bike messengers were the guys who dropped out junior year to start their own indie band.
After being on Twitter for a few weeks, there is a similar argument to be made. Being new on Twitter is a lot like being the new kid at a big, giant high school. You don't know anyone and you have an inkling about where you fit in, although you hope you're wrong. A few people friend you, but you wonder if they are the "right" friends. Do they know enough people? Are they going to label you forever if you end up following them? Are they going to friend you, but then end up ignoring you in favor of their more popular, cooler friends? After a while, you get on a few lists and start obsessing over your numbers. You only have 100 followers but someone you know has 1,000. Obviously, they are more popular than you are.
And then, there are the RTs. Nothing makes you feel like a band geek quite like never getting RT'd. You sit around, thinking up pithy, 140 character quotes and they disappear into a black hole. Nobody else on your list thinks that you are interesting enough to eat lunch with. You see the cheerleaders/football players, having endless @ conversations with each other as you look on, wondering if they are going to notice that you exist. When you do get @ed by the quarterback or the head cheerleader, you might as well call it a day because it just ain't going to get any better than that.
#FF is a lot like valentines day. Not getting #FFd ever is like Charlie Brown's empty mailbox. No love from the little red-haired girl. Hashtags and chats are a bad keg party. You have no idea what's going on, so you just drink your warm beer and nod your head hoping that nobody figures out you're clueless.
Don't get me wrong - I love Twitter. It's been great getting to "know" people that I would never have the chance to meet in person. But as someone who started in accounting and ended up in production, I'm always a little cautious.
On this date: In 1993, Eric Clapton wins the Grammy for Unplugged.