After participating in Twitter’s presidential debate watch party, a friend texted me complaining that after getting nine retweets, she only got one new follower. “Give it until the morning,” I said. At that moment, I realized how much social media is just like high school. My response sounded just like what I would tell my girlfriend after she waited up all night for her crush to call her.
I mean, think about it. Joining Twitter is like being the new kid at school and trying to be down with the popular cool clique. Being “followed” is the equivalent of having the captain of the football team ask you out. And where he leads, the rest of the cool kids follow. Then there’s Facebook. Facebook is like Glee, where everyone is accepted and at least one person is guaranteed to “like” whatever you say no matter what. Where a friend of a friend that you met at a party once is now considered your “friend.” Google+, Flickr and all the other social networks are comparable to academic clubs. Created by the nerds and outcasts that didn’t fit in with any of the above and decided to create their own thing.
I joined Twitter about 7 months ago. Most of the time, I find it exhausting. The limit of 160 characters alone can drive you crazy. The pressure! Be witty, be compelling, tweet often—are just some of the tips Twitter experts (and I use that term loosely) say online. Tweet too much and you are that needy friend that calls every five minutes—unfollow! Tweet too little, then you’re “too busy” to talk to your friends—unfollow! And god forbid, you follow way more people than you have followers. You might as well put a big “L” over your profile pic! The more I thought about, the more I realized how my Twitter experience is just like high school all over again:
Twitter Me: Sitting with my finger on the send button for 10 minutes reading and re-reading my tweet to make sure it’s just right. And two seconds after I push the button, realizing 20 ways I could have said it better.
High School Me: Taking the time to craft a smart-ass response to the skank that wants my boyfriend if she tests me. She does. Then she tops my response and stumps me. And of course, I come up with the perfect response—right after she walks away!
Twitter Me: Sending out a prolific tweet and forgetting to add the oh so important hash tag.
High School Me: Writing my crush a letter and forgetting to include my phone number. DUH!
Twitter Me: Checking my account every few minutes to see if someone retweeted or followed me.
High School Me: Checking my pager every few minutes to make sure it’s working. The cute guy I met at the mall said he was gonna page me later. Yes, I said page, high school was quite a while ago, ok?!
Twitter Me: Complaining to my husband that I don’t have many followers and him responding with a supportive, “Honey, it takes time. Building followers doesn’t happen overnight.”
High School Me: Complaining to my mom about my non-existent boobs and her responding with a supportive, “Honey, it takes time. Boobs don’t grow overnight.” (By the way, she was right, maybe my husband is too!)
But in the end, my high school self reminds me that I am not defined by how many friends I have, or how many people like me. That said, please follow me on Twitter @simonesayswhat…please:)