(This infographic appears in its entirety at the bottom of the story.)
Twitter: a place to share, a place to learn, a place to grow.
Is that an ideal or reality?
For some of us, this is a reality, but Twitter is also a place of social norms, somewhere that even the most awkward individual can find friends, and a locale for the cool kids to strut, if only just a little bit.
As you involve yourself on Twitter, day by day, sometimes you may not observe much of what is going on around you. After all, there are millions of users and you, of course, are paying attention to just a small percentage of them.
This draws a parallel to a place where all of us (most at least) have been before. A place that some of us flourished in the limelight, while others suffered its wrath. The parallel I’m exploring is one we all know as high school.
How do Twitter and high school compare? The similarities are more prominent than one may think, so buckle up and take a stroll down memory lane as I share with you 12 striking similarities between Twitter and high school.
1. The popular clique.
On Twitter, the so-called social media elite and other groups form their cliques in which they only tweet and retweet one another and love that they are pseudo rock stars. Even if that stardom is hardly lucrative in the long run (or short run for that matter). How many of you knew the cool girl in high school that now has eight kids by three dads and weighs 250 pounds?
It is unbelievable how many bullies there are on Twitter. Always willing to belittle a person’s ideas or antagonize anyone who doesn’t think like them. It wasn’t cool in high school, and it isn’t cool on Twitter. If this is you, I recommend you deal with your issues in another way.
3. Nerds are everywhere.
QR codes, spiritual leadership, music theory, statistics. If it is a highly intellectual subject, you can find plenty of folks on Twitter talking about it. In high school, being smart brought out the bullies (see above); on Twitter, being a nerd is actually somewhat cool.
Sports, sports, and more sports. Fitness tips and tricks, diet plans, folks discussing their training regiments and sharing how far they biked/ran today. Plus, Twitter is filled with a plethora of sports analysts, current and former players, and fans constantly discussing their teams. Let’s face it: High school was heaven for jocks, and so is Twitter.
5. Talking behind your back (a.k.a. backstabbers).
Ever had a friendly conversation on Twitter that’s followed by a DM or Skype message saying how so and so is a jerk, an idiot, etc.? This happens all the time on Twitter, just as it did in high school.
6. Teachers abound.
Twitter is swarming with teachers; so was high school. Agreed? OK, moving on …
7. A lot of counseling.
Have a need for advice, feedback, direction? Find it here. In high school, you had your deans and guidance counselors; on Twitter, you have all the self-proclaimed and actual experts.
8. College and military recruiting.
If you are uncertain about your future, there are schools all over Twitter recruiting you for higher learning. The military is now on Twitter recruiting for soldiers, sailors, airmen. Same institutions as in high school, just recruiting on a different medium.
9. Gratuitous self-promotion.
You may see tweet, tweet, tweet about peoples’ experience, knowledge, and accolades. But many of us read brag, brag, brag. There is so much unnecessary self-promotion on Twitter that it sounds like the cool kids’ table at lunch time.
10. Endless flirting.
It’s mostly harmless, but it’s everywhere nonetheless. Guys and gals can’t help themselves, and it’s very apparent if you watch the stream. For those of you guilty of this, trust me when I say it is very apparent. Those of you in a relationship, consider yourselves warned.
11. Slackers are slacking.
Not everyone on Twitter is paid to be there. Nor is everyone on Twitter unemployed. So, that means quite a few folks on Twitter are paid to do something other than tweet, but are doing it anyway—kind of like not paying attention in class or forgetting to study for a test. Either way, it isn’t what you are supposed to be doing, but that isn’t stopping you.
12. It is something many say they hate, but would do it over and over given the opportunity.
Come on, who wouldn’t do high school again if they had the chance? OK, perhaps a few of you, wouldn’t, but for the rest of you, it is just like Twitter. It is something you really enjoy, but are a bit ashamed/embarrassed/bothered by it.
Daniel Newman is the CEO of United Visual Inc. Parent company to United Visual Systems, United Visual Productions, and United GlobalComm. The family of companies is focused in visual communications and audio visual technologies. Newman is also an adjunct professor of management at North Central College. A Chicago native and lifelong resident of the city, Newman is an avid golfer, a fitness fan, and a classically trained pianist. A version of this story first appeared on The 12 Most … blog.