You probably come across many different kinds of social media creatures over the course of your week — through work, personal networking, or whatever draws you to social media. Some of these are little more than annoying. Others can be downright dangerous. And on the lighter side, some are occasionally amusing.
Here are a few of my “favorite” social media monsters:
The “Guru” Giants
You know the type. The gurus seem to be everywhere you turn. Sometimes they go by other names, like “expert.” I do think there are “gurus” in social media. I think anyone who says otherwise (the ones who pretend social media is only a few years old, because they completely neglect the social side of the Web that’s been around for well over a decade now) is a bit loopy.
So being a social media expert in its own right isn’t a problem for me. They’re the “gentle giants” of the industry — the ones who have earned the title from years of experience and successes. More importantly, they’re the ones who don’t have to toot their own horn, because others are busy doing it for them.
The ones to watch out for are the self-named gurus and experts who haven’t yet earned the classification with proven work, who think dabbling in everything makes them an expert in everything. Get too close to these ones and they probably won’t lift you up to help you reach your goals; they’ll crush you under foot.
The TMI Fairies
The TMI fairies are one of my favorite social media monsters in this list (perhaps next to trolls). These are sometimes obnoxious, but also sometimes fun folks. They’re the ones who tell you anything and everything about themselves, and their dog, and their spouse, and their kids, and their boss….
Do they really think Twitter is an appropriate forum for airing their marital dirty laundry? Do they honestly think we care about their daily lunch menu? Well, if they’re solely involved in personal networking, I guess anything’s possible. But these kinds of updates really don’t need to be shared with colleagues — ever.
Even on the personal side, the TMI crowd can go a bit overboard. I really don’t want to know that a friend is menstrual or that someone got laid last night. Nor do I want to see your drunk-ass photos from the weekend’s party (reminding me that I stupidly didn’t join you — damn!).
It’s okay to be personal from time to time. It shows you’re human. But before letting your hair down a bit too much ask yourself: how would I feel if my mother / child / best friend said the same thing?
The Spam Bots
Spam bots and their evil masters are probably the worst of the social media monsters. They have the power to take down even major social media sites.
They’re injected into communities to suck the life out of each member before finally being taken down. But you can never really kill them. They’re fine-tuned and put right back to work sending unsolicited friend requests, messages, phishing attempts, and ads.
Okay, trolls are officially my favorite social media creature. Why? Because the little meanies make me laugh. You know what I’m talking about. These are people who pick fights all the time. They might just like to be the center of attention or they might have an axe to grind with you or your company. Their attacks are frequent. They sometimes don’t even make sense. They’re rarely logical, and quite often personal.
I enjoy people who make poor arguments. I’m amused by a lack of logic. It’s like they’re in a fish bowl and I’m sitting there watching, trying to figure out what makes them tick. Sure, eventually it gets annoying and I shut them up. But in the meantime, why not enjoy it? I especially love it when people troll on blogs thinking they’re sneaky and hiding their identity (when you can track their IP, they’re dumb enough to leave a real email address, etc.). I find that truly hysterical.
Not everyone has the stomach for social media trolls though. That’s okay. You can always delete them, ban their access from commenting, etc. if you really want to (not that I’m a fan of censorship — I personally have pretty liberal comment policies). Just don’t assume everyone who disagrees with you, even passionately, is a troll. And don’t assume people who don’t like you automatically fall into this group and deserve to be hunted and beat down either. Maybe they don’t like you because you really are guilty of doing some stupid sh*t. It’s always a possibility.
The Zombie Sheep
Constantly following. Guaranteed ass-kissing. No sign of original thought. They’re the zombie sheep. They’re everywhere in social media. They latch onto anyone “bigger” than them like puppies following whoever they know will feed them. They do what they’re asked to do. They agree with just about everything said. They’re always continuing the conversations started by others and rarely, if ever, saying anything new.
They’re far from leaders. And that’s okay. Not everyone is leadership material. But there’s no excuse for anyone to become a deadened version of someone else just because it’s easier than thinking for themselves. Follow? Yes. Follow blindly? Well, that just puts you on the road to becoming yet another homogenized half-wit. I’d call the zombie sheep variety of social media user one of the scariest around.
What about you? What annoys, amuses, or confuses you the most when it comes to stereotypical social media behavior? Can you think of any other examples of “social media monsters” I left out?