Back in high school, there were lots of different types of people, but the people I found the most difficult to deal with were those that tried too hard and those that didn’t try hard enough.

The kid that didn’t try hard enough always got under my skin. It was mostly because he was a spoiled brat to begin with (and my parents didn’t raise no spoiled brats!). He expected something for nothing and whined and groaned to anyone who would listen if he didn’t get his way. He was always shouting and bragging and carrying on about how great he was but wasn’t interested in what anyone else had to say. He wanted a free ride to the top and he’d step on whoever he could to get there.

The kid that tried too hard, on the other hand, was even more troublesome for me. This kid was the one that was always hanging around the cool kids, but was continuously being openly ignored by the popular set. It wasn’t that she wasn’t a nice kid; it’s that she’d be constantly tripping over herself to try and fit in. She’d try to use the cool expressions, wear the cool clothes, hang out at the cool places. She thought she was doing everything right. But instead, she was trying to be someone she wasn’t. And that was not cool.

Like any community, social media attracts all kinds of people. The majority of the people I come across are genuine. Their intentions are really good. But I think that some people are not getting everything they could out of social media simply because they are either trying too hard or not trying hard enough.

How to Tell if You’re Not Trying Hard Enough
Wondering why you post on your blog every day (sometimes twice a day) and nobody shows up? Or maybe a few people do drop by, but they don’t ever leave a comment. Wonder why you follow 20,000 people on Twitter but only 300 follow you back? There’s a chance you are not trying hard enough.

Social networks only work if they work two ways. Essentially, you get out of it what you put into it. If your blog or Twitter posts are only about you promoting your latest product, or you whining and complaining about things, or you bragging about how great you are, then there’s a big problem: it’s that your posts are all about YOU. And as interesting as your life is, people are not interested in being constantly blurted to. Eventually they will give up on you.

What To Do About It
Make your social network interactions about something that people can relate to. Touch a chord. Inspire change. Raise awareness. Help other people. Most importantly, reach out to others. Ask questions, start a conversation. Don’t sit back and wait for everyone to come to you. This takes effort. It doesn’t happen overnight. It might take years. Keep reminding yourself why you are here. Then take one step at a time.

How to Tell if You’re Trying Too Hard
You’re going along, interacting with lots of important and famous people, commenting on a ton of popular blogs, reaching out on a daily basis to anyone who has more than 10,000 followers. Last week, Ms. A List blogger even posted a follow up to your comment! Yet, since then, she has outright refused to respond to any of your emails, DM’s, requests to send out links, or latest business ideas. The nerve of some people! And you thought she was your friend.

Trying to be one of the popular kids is rarely successful. It didn’t work for you in high school, honey, and it certainly isn’t going to work for you here. The reason why is simple; when you are trying to be popular, you are not being yourself.

What To Do About It
If you are using social networks to be popular, you are doing it for the wrong reason – it’s that simple. Instead, try this approach. Be real. Be yourself. Be interested in other people whether they have 50 followers or 50,000. Be interesting to other people by having real conversations about things that matter to both of you.

In The End…
We could sit around and analyze for years why certain people gain more popularity than others. Some would say it’s dumb luck. Others would say it’s because of the kind of person they are, and how they interact with and engage others. I say it’s probably a bit of both. Look, what you do with your time in this space is up to you. If you are not getting the results you want, though, seriously consider your motivation and how you might begin to see things differently.