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.

17 comments:

Gregory K. said...

That's funny stuff... and accurate. Not that I recognize any of those social strata. Noooo. Or should I say...

I know you are, but what am I?

cynjay said...

Oh, I know what I am. I just try to hide it and pretend I'm cool.

holly cupala said...

Ha! Now I totally feel like a band geek, though.

heidi said...

This is hilarious, Cyn!
I'm not going to even venture to guess where I am in this sphere. Guessing bike messenger>>>>???

cynjay said...

Just keep your pom poms outta my face.

Holly - I aspired to band geek in HS. I "faked" playing in our marching band all the way to the Rose Parade.

Amy said...

The key to getting RT'd is to make sure that your quote is less than 140 characters. ;)

fun post.

Kristen Schwartz said...

I love it! In high school I hung out on the Island of Misfit Toys. I still have a fondness for that place...

Shari Maurer said...

Someone once said Twitter's like going to a party. You can listen or you can join the conversation. But sometimes I feel like everyone knows each other and is chatting without me...so totally like high school!

Great post!

The1stdaughter said...

This really is perfect...and sadly true.

I've been on it for a few months now and have yet to join in with the "cool kids". Oh well, I just do like I did in "real" high school and ignore them while pretending it doesn't bother me in the slightest.

Great post!

Alexa said...

So funny and true, especially the hashtags - I guess someone understands how chats work but for me the feel like year nine algebra :)

cynjay said...

It's funny that without clothes, bags or cars, we can divide ourselves into cool and not cool in less than 140 characters. And I think (just like HS)we pigeonhole ourselves as not cool more quickly than other people do. (1st Daughter is cool.)

Chat for me is like trying to grab a branch as you're being swept downstream in a monsoon. Every now and then you get a handhold. Apparently I'm big with the metaphors today.

Pam Calvert said...

Oh, ick. I know you didn't mean for Twitter to sound bad but this is EXACTLY why I don't do it. I don't need any more rejection in my life!

cynjay said...

Yeah, I don't mean to slam Twitter (heck, I was on it when you wrote your comment). It's a great place to meet and "hang" out with people.

It just fit my analogy about high school so well. If you ever come to the dark side Pam, we'll welcome you with open arms. Assuming you want to hang out with the likes of us.

Jessica Leader said...

So what is getting comments on your blog from someone who saw your post on Facebook and thought, "Oh, that sounds funny, and the campy pic is hilarious! I'm going to check that out!" Something good, I hope, like maybe a pink carnation on Valentine's Day.

cynjay said...

Absolutely! Or like being paired with that hot, mysterious guy as your lab partner.

Julie_c said...

Cyn - I'm so uncool I didn't even understand half of that post! :)

Amy Brecount White said...

Hilarious and right on, Cyn!

Hey, I'm giving away your book for my third week of Blog Tour! Bit off a little much, but can collapse after Tues, right?

Hugs, Amy