Why Twitter Makes me Feel Like I’m in Junior High

The other day, Babble put up it’s list of picks for best Twitter Moms in a bevy of categories. I was happy for my friends @selfishmom (funniest) and @cecilyk (most controversial) but I felt a lot like I used to in Junior High School: not one of the popular girls.

And I’m not the only one – witness this tweet from @LooneyTunes:

@looneytunes: Have decided that someone needs to compile a list of 50 Top Moms Online that never make 50 Top Mom Lists.

See? Other people are also getting that Junior High snub-feeling.

I don’t know about your Junior High School, but at mine, popularity was everything.  And there was nothing that symbolized your popularity better than being invited to a lot of Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.

Cynthia, the most popular girl at my Junior High, solidified her status when she was invited to seventeen Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.  Nine bars and eight bats.  Most of us had been invited to six or seven celebrations of adulthood that featured party themes that ranged from Mickey Mouse Mitzvah, to Get Down and Grow Up with Go Go Girls. But some of those invitations were reciprocal and didn’t count.  Cynthia’s invitations were pure.  She wasn’t even Jewish.

Back then, I was friendly with girls like Cynthia and her equally pimple-free, orthodontia immune posse, but I was not one of them.

Kinda like now.  Kinda like the Twittersphere.

Now matter how many times I Tweet, how many Twitter parties I go to, how many @ replies I write, I don’t have a lot of  Bar Mitzvah invites…uh, I mean followers.  True, I don’t tweet obsessively over the course of my entire day, but real-life friends like @beccasara or @c2cmom tell me they’re never on for more than 15 or 20 minutes a day. And they have followers. Thousands of them.

So what’s wrong with me? I’m as snarky as the rest of  ’em. I write nice, thoughtful #followfriday tweets.  I give link love.  I retweet.  And yet, I have less than 400 followers.

Maybe it’s my frizzy hair.  Or my teacher’s pet status.

Oh, wait.  That was Junior High.

There are bullies on twitter.  Cliques.  And oh yes, there are the POPULAR girls.

There are conversations between the “influential bloggers” that I see all the time. I’ve tried to jump in, but it’s the same as it was in Junior High: I occasionally get an @ response.  But mostly, I’m ignored. Even by the people that follow me.

I’d like not to care.  I know it shouldn’t matter. But just like I obsessively check my (meager) blog stats, I can’t help but to obsess over my piddling follower numbers.

What am I doing wrong? Why don’t tweets like this one — “is it wrong to tweet during Rosh Hashana services? How ’bout if I atone at the same time?” — even get an lol?

There’s a lot of talk in the blogosphere about how well known mom bloggers should help other mom bloggers.  How about well-known tweeters doing the same?  How about they invite us along to a Bar Mitzvah or two?

I’ll even dance the hora.

Comments

  1. says

    Nancy, I am soo glad the you wrote this piece. I was thinking of writing something similar. You have said everything I wanted to say, perfectly. I find this whole Babble hysteria very juvenile and of course subjective. I really didn’t think Twitter’s function was as a popularity contest and that is what it seemed like it became with the release of the “Top 50” craziness. I chose to follow the people I do because I find them interesting, funny, smart and informative. I feel like I would like them in real life (and some of them I have had the pleasure of meeting and do!). I guess I hope my followers follow me for the same reason and not to just increase their numbers. I was dissapointed yesterday with the Babble insanity but then again I always found the kids on the fringe way more interesting than the in crowd anyway. Thanks for a fabulous post!!!

    • says

      I’m loving these replies! Because what you say is true — the “fringe kids” always were my friends. They still are. Which is not to say that the Babble-picked women aren’t fabulous in their own right. Just that that doesn’t mean they’re the only ones that matter.

  2. says

    I only joined Twitter after numerous women at BlogHer convinced me it would help me build community among my (also meager) readers. I don’t blog for money or numbers but I do want to foster a dialogue in the comments.
    After a month or so on Twitter, I’ve got to say it’s definitely not my thing. I much prefer Facebook. Twitter feels phony, like people are trying too hard… like junior high school, I suppose. I find more honest interactions on Facebook and maybe that’s because interactions aren’t limited to 140 characters. Maybe because it’s more visual. I haven’t figured that out yet, but I thought I’d chime in with a perspective that most people obviously don’t share.

    • says

      Funny about Facebook. Because I’ve always thought that I didn’t like it as much as I liked Twitter. But now that you describe the difference, I’m thinking that maybe I like Twitter b/c the interaction is limited. That is to say – I only have to share so much. And yet that’s the very thing that keeps Twitter from being a form of communication, rather than simply mini-proclamations. Maybe I need to revisit Facebook for my personal interactions, and keep Twitter on a “professional” (i.e. Blogger) level.

  3. says

    I love this piece Nancy and I think both the commenters are spot on. The thing that makes me laugh about the babble list is that its so limited. Really 50 top? When people are following hundreds of people on twitter 50 is kinda a low number (I’m sure it was done that way on purpose, to keep it more exclusive) but it reeks of ridiculousness (oh and then breaking them down into “nicest” etc? CHEESY!)

    To be honest I purposely don’t follow a lot of women on that list. I have such limited time to be on twitter and blogging and such that I WANT personal interaction and chatter. I don’t want to watch a whole bunch of popular chicks dancing around their handbags in a circle ignoring anyone else who comes and speaks to them.

    The most interesting people I’ve met as an adult have never been the popular kids seems to me life off the invite list just leaves time for better (and truer) connections!

  4. says

    When I first signed up for twitter a couple of months ago I loved it; checking my tweets constantly. I had signed up to follow all of my favorite bloggers and it was fun to read a little bit more from them. Over time I began following anyone I thought was interesting. Then my work-life got busier and now I only have time to check twitter once or twice a day. I find myself frustrated as I page through pages of tweets from strangers telling me about there weird food cravings as I search for the tweets from my original blogger friends. I follow under 100 people and have considered removing a few that post too often about nothing, but I don’t want to lose the few followers I have. I like the advice Communicatrix gives when she recommends tweets be useful, be supportive or be entertaining.

    p.s: I began following you. First, you indicated you would like followers and I like it when people ask for what they want and second you said you don’t tweet obsessively.

  5. says

    I love this post, Nancy, and thanks for writing this. I have to admit, I actually entered myself in this silly Twitter round-up a few days ago (isn’t someone else supposed to enter me?), and I felt rediculous after I did it. I remembered my reasons for being on Twitter and having a blog shortly after – for the creative outlet, the connections – not to win contests. I’m not out to prove anything here, I am really enjoying myself. If I start getting competitive, it will become a job. Who wants that?

    If it makes you feel any better, I entered a contest to win a ticket to the Type-A Conference on another blog. There was about 6 of us entering. I think the winner won with 300-400 votes. How many did I have? 16.

    But I wasn’t popular in high school either, so what else is new?!

    Happy new year! I’ve been meaning to write and wish you and your family well.

  6. says

    This is why, although I have a twitter account, I’m never really sure what would be ‘appropriate’ to tweet. I don’t want to ay something that is totally self-absorbed just to tweet… and I don’t even really think ANYTHING I have to say is worth tweeting any way so… I don’t.
    But I want to. But I’m afraid of mean girls and their mean tweets. Same reason I did not make the effort to go to any blogger convention thingys this year… what if I don’t fit it?
    what if I’m not brandable? What if everyone sees through me and my cover as an intelligent, witty and font of information is blown… then I’ll be that sad little girl with no friends who doesn’t really fit in… standing on the outside looking in and wishing to belong… or to at least not care that I don’t.
    And that is why I don’t tweet… even though I wish I would.
    Oh- and about out house… moving to be closer to family and to live in small-town america where the neighbors really do know your names… and age and alcohol preferences and when you get your RX refilled at the corner drugstore… but they also know when you need a helping hand, when you need a shoulder, when you’re kids are getting out of hand and they are willing to let you know… because it takes a Village to raise a child and I have 3 teens that need raised… think I may need a friggin continent!!!!

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