Popularity Explained (or Why We Enjoy Tweeting about Where We Eat Our Red Velvet Cakes So Much)

For a person who was born with average talents to a common family, being known by strangers can sometimes be creepy. One day I attended a Philosophy of Social Science course just to find out that a group of girls were sending messages to one another on a piece of paper—talking about me. Of course I did not ‘intentionally’ peek over their shoulders (I did), but it nevertheless was embarrassing to discover your name jolted down by juniors you never met before. Or the word awkward might be more like it.

(Okay you might start thinking that I’m trying to say that I’m quite popular, but believe me—that’s not the case. Well at least that’s not the main case. HAHAHA.)

One of the stupidest things a journalist can ask to public figures would be this: “How does it feel to be popular?” If you ask me, I believe they deserve a punch in their face to ask such a lazy, pointless question. A worth-trying alternative would be, “Do you aim to be popular?”

Most people would say—or lie, to be exact—that popularity is just an inevitable outcome of their doing something good (or bad, in some cases). It is to my regret that the trend always demonstrates otherwise: youngsters crave to be popular. This is not morally incorrect indeed, but changing one’s point of view in seeing popularity might increase their productivity level in a significant manner
(and plausibly otherwise).

(Oh and please be reminded that I am by no means an exception to this premise. You see—I’m still naively 20, for God’s sake.)


“We have the power to be heard at the click of a button, and you choose to let the world know where you’re eating your red velvet cake.” @darlol, one of my most favorite accounts.

For one thing, I regret how social media create a bunch of overly self-interested individuals. Take Mother Theresa, for instance. Shall there be Twitter back then, would she tweet the number of poor children she helped? Would your parents care to tell the world that they have been accepted to work in the country’s most bonafide company more than they wanted to make their parents proud?

Twitter and Facebook have indeed broadened our network reach, but they failed to deepen the existing connections we had before we signed up for an account. While our close friends used to be the first ears to know about how we feel that day, the internet deceived us to skip them and go directly for the bigger audience. We started creating false images of ourselves just for the fun of popularity. What good can we earn from these showing-off tweets?

“Headed to a meeting with new clients. Excited!”
“Kuta beach, here I cooome!”
“Thank you for the past two years, love. Waiting for more…”

I mean, I will still buy personal tweets as long as it gives me certain benefits: be it stupidly funny ones, extensively informative ones, or anything alike.

For the record, I do not declare myself free of any guilt. I, too, sometimes have the urge to let the world (or a particular person, most of the time) know what I’m currently doing, and damn, nothing can be more effective than Twitter.

So what we should blame on is solely the system of social network.
Its mere existence grows people’s insecurity, facilitates us to compare ourselves to others and, when we’re not lucky enough to have self-control, makes us feel rather ‘less’ than ‘thankful’.

Here’s an easy example: when tweeting about how you volunteered in one of the most respected hospitals in town does not even visit your mind, reading someone else’s announcement about how they happily work abroad will stimulate you to outpopularize that person by tweeting about it.

So, yeah. I’m looking forward to when our society gets maturer and cares to share ideas more than places they visit. Until that day, folks.


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