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How pretty do you have to be?


This morning, I uploaded a video from Scott Stratten (@unmarketing) to Soc Media 101. As I watched, I couldn’t help but notice how adorable he is (as in handsome, kind and charming). And my brain started to churn.

Not five minutes later, I saw this:

The people who do well in Hollywood tend to be the people who did well in high school. Because it really is about who’s in, who’s out, who’s cool. Then you get the nerds like me who know how to write or make movies, and they have to sort of make room for us. But we’re not calling the shots socially, you know? – John Favreau, actor, director, writer and more

There’s no doubt that the social media – high school analogy works. I mean, come on.

But, it isn’t clear cut:

  • Pretty people are very successful in this space, but so are unpretty people. (I’ll let you make your own mental list – I’m not walking down that road).
  • Kind, generous, wonderful people thrive in social media, but so do assholes. (I’ll let you make that list too.)
  • ‘Popular kids’ flourish as well, but the internet really lets the geeks soar.

As usual there are no answers, no universal truths to be found. I’d like to think that the good guys finish first…but, sadly, the bad guys  have black hat SEO on their side. Like automatic Twitter follow machines. Isn’t that the equivalent of having friends because you’re the only one with the fake ID?

Overheard on Twitter today:


Nor does having a lot of followers as a result make you, deservedly, the most popular kid in class.

Of course there’s a bit of the high school ‘cool’ thing at play here…but there’s more and it’s not nearly so superficial. I’m talking:

  1. Giving.
  2. Sharing.
  3. Kindness.
  4. Respect
  5. Smarts
  6. Talent

Kudos for you if you’re a cutie…

Image courtesy of The Pack

Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Emma Newman says:

    I saw the effect of how pretty someone is at the school I once taught at, in children as young as five. They already had a different arsenal of social weaponry, all developed on the basis of their being cute, rather than clever. It always made me sad – for them and for the geeky kids, but for the latter I always had more of a soft spot (and affinity).

    I’ve only been online for just over 5 months in any serious way, and the fact that I don’t have to be seen is such a huge help to me. How sad that is. How sad that I feel more confident in this levelled playing field because you don’t know whether I look pretty or not. What a world we live in…

  • Alisa Bowman says:

    I wasn’t popular in HS and until very recently I wasn’t popular in my adult life either. But I am somewhat popular on the net. Or, at least, it feels that way. I agree with you. Being kind, generous, caring etc. are all the traits you really need to get by. I don’t judge people by how they look. I notice how confident they are, how grounded they are, how giving they are, how funny etc.

  • Jason says:

    High school. Yeah, I was anti-everything. in a graduating class of 500+, people seemed to know me, but not vice-versa. I asked someone after high school about that and they said I was like Dennis Miller in high school, tearing people down that deserved it, except I was funny. I believe I look rather ordinary. I have terminology I use for “them”. PGS, or pretty/priviliged girl/guy syndrome. They have always gotten what they wanted because of their looks. PGS was rampant in high school, but I was the antidote. I suppose I take offense to those that get things so easily, have worked so hard for all I have. Either that or I am just a nasty person.

  • Karen Toms says:

    This post has kept popping into my head over the past couple of days. I love the fact that social media isn’t so superficial. All that superficial, looks orientated stuff doesn’t sit comfortably and I have been connecting with so many kind and giving people in the short time I have been active in social media. I am discovering that social media is inspiring me to be more creative and to say things out loud that I wouldn’t necessarily have had the confidence to say in a group situation. But this has a knock on effect too because as my confidence online grows, I feel more able to say what I feel offline too.

  • Ron Miller says:

    See to me, the great thing about social media is how it evens the playing field. Anyone can play and anyone can connect with anyone else, regardless of your position, so long as you get what Scott talked about in this video, that it’s about giving more than taking. If you think it’s about self promotion, you’re going to lose, but if you get that it’s about being a good member of the community, you’ll succeed, regardless of what you look like. Finally, remember my post, A Small Circle of Friends on It’s not always a popularity contest. You should be more concerned about the small circle of people who care about you and your work. Those are the most important.


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