When did you last count how many followers you have on Instagram or Twitter? Have you noticed how obsessed politicians are with opinion polls? How many ‘likes’ did that post get you thought was so funny? What’s happening with that friend who keeps cancelling on you last minute? What does that little voice in your head say to you when you present to a room full of people? And are you aware just how much your behaviour today is driven by your experiences of popularity as a teenager?
We live in an era that is completely obsessed with popularity, both in the real and, increasingly, in the virtual world where hard data from our social media channels show us just how popular and visible we really are. Parents and teachers are becoming increasingly concerned about the high anxiety (especially amongst young girls) surrounding young people and their insatiable appetite for acceptance online – all at the expense of school work, real friends and healthy self-esteem.
The Popularity Paradox is a fresh and fascinating book about the science of popularity. Based on 20 years of research and written by popularity expert Mitch Prinstein, it investigates what popularity is, why we care about it so much – even if we don’t think we do – what kind of popularity is worth caring about and how we can get the popularity we want, even if we didn’t have it when we were younger. Although very much written for a general audience, the book will also appeal to parents wishing to support children through their formative years to ensure that their experience of popularity today shapes them positively as adults in the future.