Why Social Media Is Like High School

When I was in high school, the most important thing about surviving and thriving was all about being popular. This concept of peer acceptance consumed us as very young adults and we constantly looked for ways to wedge ourselves into groups that might accept us with open arms. We dressed weird, told jokes, joined the volleyball team, skipped school, or even went so far as to experiment with things we KNEW were not a good thing to do.

If one thing didn’t work we tried another. No matter where we landed it seemed like there was always a “better” group. There was always those special little cliques that just never seemed to have to work at being popular, it just dripped off of them without any effort. Day after day you might have asked, “What is it about her/him that makes them so popular?” You didn’t see it, but everyone else apparently did.

As grown ups, we look back on those times and chuckle. You giggle when you find out that Mr. Popularity, Bob QuaterbackSmith is still working at his fathers hardware store or Mary TeachersPet, made it all the way to assistant librarian at the community library. How could we have been so shallow? Wasn’t it so silly to worry about all that? Right?

Well, here we are again. Social (a.k.a. clique) Media! Grown up popularity contests all over again- with the most gigantic popularity clique EVER! Ever get that “nobody likes me” blues from Facebook? Your invitation for friendship “denied!” Ouch! No Re-tweets from your Twitter? Crickets – from Linkedin? Seriously, how does someone get 39,458 friends or followers? All I can say is Welcome Back Mr. Cotter!

So what to do? Well PLEASE don’t be the one that shows their desperation with invitations to Farmville, or telling bad jokes just to be saying something (those jokes didn’t work then either.) Take a lesson from the master clique meisters. Obviously Mr. 39,458 friends has figured something out that you haven’t. We know it’s probably not their looks or physique, because you can’t really tell on social media. So what is it?

What was their secret back then? Are these the same creeps that were popular back then too? Probably but NOW we are all on the same level playing field. Cuteness, fashion status, athleticism or brainiacness does not really matter on social media. Their secret was and still is simple – connecting. Giving their connections what they wanted, which was acceptance, value, Volgers kopen Instagram and relating to their connections. Like the popular kids in high school, the successful social media personalities reach their audience with appropriate dialogue to their selective clique. In high school you didn’t see the jocks talking about books in their clique and in the theatre groups, you rarely celebrated the end of the play with head butts. You target your messages to match the participants you intend to attract.

For the casual social media users, the key is to be yourself and the number of followers be damned. Just have fun and get value out of the tool and don’t worry about your following. Every once in a while a new friend will emerge, and you will feel good that the people you communicate with are the ones that you feel comfortable talking with. Don’t force it! It’s is not necessary and might even push people away. NOT saying something is OK too, or just offering a friendly thumbs up, or re-tweet might be good. Otherwise, if you have something to share, share it with pride!

For the people that are trying to use social media for business, you have to consider your business and your customer. What type of people do you want to attract? Who would be interested in what you have to say? If you sell heart stints or legal services, a social media audience would probably not appreciate daily jokes on your social media. But posting some things that represent your personality WOULD be appropriate because everybody likes to connect with real people, not products or brands. Mixing up your posts with industry news, personal information, valuable articles on your product or service, and once in a while a good joke or an amazing picture, would be a winning combination. Contributing to other conversations is also a good idea as well as being a giving person by sharing others links, or re-tweeting good info out to others.

Unfortunately, it looks like in the world of social media, that we did in fact regress back to those old clique behaviors where winning groupies is still a testament to our popularity. Ironically, despite our best grown up efforts to walk away from these painful days of being left out or the euphoric days of being included, due to the nature of social media, we nevertheless have developed these fundamental social media clique groups. If you are feeling left out – say NO MORE! Look at your own personality and how it fits in with your target audience and get your social media clique going! We are smarter now and our profile pictures are just as cool as the next guy/gals, so all we have to do is figure out our niche clique. Pick your clique group and get your tweets going. Be brave, be bold (it’s a lot easier to do online.)

Social Media Cliques

The Cool Kids – These social media pundits are the ones that don’t even act like they are trying to get friends and they get them anyway. But, that is their secret. They ARE really trying. They’re just ACTING like they’re not. These are the smooth social media contributors that post with authority. They present themselves as subject matter experts. They only post personal information or pics if they are at a fancy restaurants or sky diving or something. Even if their post is about info that every other guy is posting, they post it like it is REALLY important!

The Cheerleaders – These social media folks post with encouraging little remarks. Like “You can do it!” or “Don’t miss out!” They help their fans feel good about reading their posts because it will help them out and they are, after all, only thinking about you. They are upbeat and rosy! Stuff like, “We love to share good news, so we are so excited to tell you our MarthaDoodle dresses are in. EVERYONE is loving it! (pic)”

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