December 29, 2017

Credit: Ross D. Franklin/AP Photo

It’s the holidays, which means you might head back to your hometown, grab a drink at the local bar, and compare yourself with the kids you knew in high school. 

Luckily, we’re serving up the perfect show for the status-obsessed. We have stories that look at what makes people popular in school, how your crammed calendar can actually make you more sought after, and why achieving online popularity is trickier than you think. 

Do you ever wonder why some people are more popular than others? The foundation for climbing up the social ladder starts early, and it turns out that parents actually have an enormous influence on how well-liked their kids are. Psychology professor Mitch Prinstein explains how popularity develops and why it matters. 

Then, at the height of their career, YouTube stars can make millions of dollars. But it’s a rough road to the top for social media stars, if they can get there at all. We talk with author Brooke Erin Duffy and YouTuber Gaby Dunn about the aspirational economy, and how success can take a toll on our personal life.

Next, don’t feel bad the next time you have to blow off your friends. Being busy is considered a status symbol here in America. Georgetown University assistant professor Neeru Paharia explains why we’re impressed with people who have too much on their plates... though that may a relatively recent phenomenon.

Listen to this last one while you heat up your TV dinner. The story behind the microwave.

innovation hub, Percy Spencer, Mitch Prinstein, Neeru Paharia, Brooke Erin Duffy, Gaby Dunn, pri, WGBH, Kara Miller

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