Social Networking: High School Revisited?

By Alexis Rodrigo | Social Media

Mar 19

A lot has been said and continues to be said about how great social networking is. It has allowed us, online entrepreneurs, to reach our ideal customers in ways much more intimate, immediate and efficient than ever before.

Homecoming Game 671

It allows us to connect with the gatekeepers. You know, those influential people who shape the opinions, thoughts and even behaviors of our market or industry.

AKA the cool kids.

But if you're not (yet) one of the popular ones with over 25,000 Twitter followers, 3,000 Facebook fans or 1,500 LinkedIn recommendations, it sure can feel like high school all over again.

Unless, of course, you were one of the cool kids in high school.

I wasn't one of the cool kids in high school.

I was a new student in freshman year and, of course, I felt terribly out of place.

I was scrawny and dark skinned, a real ugly duckling. My family didn't go on exotic trips during the summer. I didn't do cool stuff like take ballet lessons or play a mean game of volleyball.

Instead, I did nerdy stuff like ace math exams, sketch portraits and read books in the library.

As any adolescent girl would, I tried to fit in. I tried to get on the good side of a couple of very pretty, very popular girls. I laughed at their jokes. I tried to get into conversations with them.

I think you know where this story is going, right?

Ok, just to make things clear, this is what happened: those cool girls? They laughed at me. Not only behind my back, but straight to my face. I wasn't pretty enough, rich enough or interesting enough to be their friend.

That hurt.

But I'm glad I learned early on that it doesn't pay to try and be somebody else other than yourself.

Believe it or not, this story has a happy ending.

I eventually did make friends. One of my friends was into classical music and gave us all the answers during a music exam where we had to identify the composer and period of pieces of music.

One was a wonderful writer who won short story writing contests. She also had a beautiful singing voice and a very kind heart. And she shared my love affair with Matthew Broderick.

One was a long suffering friend who never ever gave up on you, no matter how many times you were late.

One was a diligent student who happily dictated to me everything she had reviewed the night before a test, because it helped her remember them.

One was a beautiful ballerina who gave me a much cooler nickname and told me stories that helped me realize I was better off not having brothers (she had three).

In other words, I found my peeps. I didn't need to be prettier, more sophisticated or anything else other than who I already was.

So if you're trying to get somebody's attention on Twitter and they don't pay attention to you, do you take it personally? Do you up your charm level, butt in on convos and try to impress them with your witty banter?

Or do you move on in search of the ones who will resonate with you, appreciate you and recognize your brilliance?

Frankly, I'm too old and set in my ways to be any more charming than I already am (or not), and I've never been witty, and trying to impress someone is just plain too much work! I'd much rather be myself.

Take me, or leave me.

What are you thinking now? Let me know.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Steph Anderson

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About the Author

Lexi Rodrigo is a communication and marketing professional for multimillion-dollar businesses, co-author of Blog Post Ideas: 21 Proven Ways to Create Compelling Content and Kiss Writer's Block Goodbye, and host of "Marketing Insights LIVE!." Connect with Lexi on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

  • Andrea Vahl says:

    Lexi –
    I so agree with you! I also was not a cool kid in high school. Sometimes twitter can feel like everyone is “in the know” and you can feel ignored when you are trying to get someone’s attention. Don’t take it personally. I find when I’m having one of those days, when I feel left out, there is something else going on. I’m tired or something else happened. I try to remember to just relax, keep going and maybe connect with someone different. Thanks for this post.

    • Alexis says:

      @Andrea – Good insight there. When we feel that somebody has slighted or ignored us, it’s usually a reflection of something going on with us, not with the other person. It’s a good opportunity to stop and check in with ourselves and see what it is we’re really needing.

  • Great post Lexi. I supect there will always, always be a part of me that’s disappointed that the cools kids aren’t running up to me and offering to share their lunch, but you’re right! My peeps are wonderful and I’m glad to have them.

    • Alexis says:

      That’s the spirit, Catherine! We’ll always be seeking approval, but it’s good to remember that we can’t please or befriend everybody. Thanks for your comment!

  • Courtney says:

    What a great post Lexi! Much like in high school I’m finding myself with my head in my books (ie: client work) instead of out there having fun. This is a good reminder that social networking doesn’t have to be overkill. It can just be fun and breezy.

    • Alexis says:

      Thanks for the comment, Courtney! Yeah, let’s not take these things too seriously. Let’s have fun!

  • Lexi, many of the kids that were cool in my High School are lame now. I wasn’t cool then, but I’m doing better now. It was impossible for me to blend in. I was already 6’5″ and had Tourette’s Syndrome during the awkward JR. High Years.

    Nothing about having 25,000 Twitter followers would make my life better.

    You’re a really good writer. Enjoy it!

    • Alexis says:

      Oh my gosh, you’re totally right Josh. “Success” in high school does not predict adult happiness. Even those who were academically successful aren’t necessarily successful adults now.
      On another note, you’re more than 12 inches taller than I am, and neither of us blend in 😉

  • Mike Korner says:

    Great post Lexi. Reminds me of a quote by Rosario Morales, “I am who I am. Take it or leave me alone.”

    Thanks for the information in your newsletter today, too. Much appreciated!

  • Glad I stopped by again! You’re on fire, Lexi.

    I really like this post. I have felt ignored in social media, like I don’t matter. But at this point, I just don’t care! I know why I’m here, and it’s definitely not to be cool; it’s to build a successful business! So, I want to be sure that everything I do will help me reach that goal. I just watched your video. You’re very cute! :O)

    • Alexis says:

      Aw, thank you Kathleen! I’m not in social media to be cool, either. I do love finding interesting people and learning from them. And once in a while, I try very hard to help others out or share good stuff. See you around!

  • […] desire to belong — but not just to belong to ANY group, but to belong to THE group of the coolest kids. It’s also linked to the human desire for recognition and […]

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