I LOVE social media. I’m on board. It’s a way of communicating, in multiple ways, to multiple audiences in a style I love – the written word. I’m not going to spend hours on the phone. If I write a letter or a postcard – terrific, but I’ll never send it and besides, I’ve got better things to do on holidays than write a bloody postcard. Birthday cards? You’ve got to be joking – I have loads written and they are lost in dark places. I need immediate communication, and the favorite part of living today is, it’s finally here.
Social media allows me to share my life with the most important people to me who happen to live all over the world. I get to share my knowledge with people in my industry who (I hope) appreciate what I’ve got to say, and give me the chance to build credibility and a solid reputation. And I get to communicate with people I’ve never met, sometimes touching their hearts or relating to them by sharing an experience they’ve had as well. It’s nice. I love it. So many new things are possible because of it.
But I’ve noticed people interact with social media in various ways, and some people have very strong opinions about it – not always good. When people are negative about it, to me it seems they’re missing the point. But they’re not me and I’m not them, so are they missing any point? We have our communities spread far OR close, and not everyone wants to go big, so it’s going to mean different things to different people, and that’s all part of its beauty.
As such, I’ve created my own ‘labels,’ for people based on how they do or do not engage in a social world. Obviously this is my observations based on my own community, but I think I cover just about every country, race, religion and culture within my network, so a good test case, yes?
This group are born communicators. They share the things that make them think, laugh or even the stuff that outrages them. They value knowledge and believe sharing different ideas can change the world. They’re typically open to different opinions, argue passionately, love the collaboration they can create across the world, and most of the time, provide good fodder for their friend’s timelines. The great thing about The Lovers is they’re also terrific supporters. They’ll love your kids photos, your latest meal and if you want to launch a blog or a Facebook fan page, make sure they know about it, ‘cos they’ll “Like” it – appreciating how hard it is getting this kind of support. They don’t just communicate out with the world, they actively participate in it. Naturally, I consider myself a “Lover.”
The Self Promoters
Then we get The Self Promoters. These folk are on social media channels and quite active to boot, but it’s all about them. They’ll share pictures, adventures, blogs, events they’re in and more, but they’ll never EVER (well rarely) “like” anyone else’s work, share anyone else’s work, or acknowledge anyone else’s work. Sometimes it’s ‘cos they’re just too busy, but the reality is, they see social media as a one-way-street-for-information-distribution, and they’re all over it for that. Be sure to protect your heart from disappointment when they don’t acknowledge your existence.
I know these people exist, because every time I turn up at a BBQ or a party they’ll bloody tell me everything I’ve been doing in my life, but NOT ONCE did they ever comment or acknowledge my existence online! They don’t participate, merely observe the lives of those around them, and sometimes it’s because they’re shy, sometimes it’s because they don’t see the point, and sometimes, it’s just ‘cos the world has to have it’s voyeurs… it’d be boring without them right?
The Addicts typically cross a lot of social media channels, and the one thing they love to do is combine them all together. So these are the ‘Four Squarers’ – checking in somewhere and letting you know where they are – e.g: “Gertrude has just checked in at Fur to have her snatch waxed” – awesome Gertrude! Or they’re all over Twitter having conversations all night with complete strangers about whatever it is they talk about. An Addict can usually be unveiled when revealing “they just needed to take a break from social media” – something that never lasts long. I ain’t a huge fan of the stranger chattage, so this group are a curiosity to me.
The Pooh Poohers
Probably my favorite group is this one. The Pooh Poohers are on social media, they participate in social media, and many of them are quite active on social media (usually via very selected channels), but equally, they use every bloody chance they get to tell you what a load of shite it is. I find them a curiosity within the mix, because they are utilizing it, but equally deriding it? Anyone care to explain? Karl?
The Yeah Whatevers
Remember when mobile phones came out in the late 90s and a lot of us rushed off and got one? Then the next round of adopters got one? Then the next? Then there was this 4th group and they were all like “why the hell would I want one of them?” This demographic could typically be classified as 30’ish male professionals (and I did agree with them on why the hell would I, even though I had one), then 4-5 years ago, they cracked and the final frontier of phone adoption was won. After that, they were incredibly annoying and couldn’t be without their phones – interacting with them during dinner (but not on Facebook), interrupting conversations to take calls – yawn! Well those people aren’t on social media yet either, and you know what, they will be! These are the people at dinner parties who tell you why they aren’t on it, and everyone else tells them why they should be on it, and I usually just sit there thinking there is no escape in the long-run sunshine!
This group are not always conscious of their actions (or words) and are the ones who inadvertently drop comments that are racist, sexist, un-nationalistic, and generally, not acceptable by many people’s definitions. The comments are usually posted without much expectation of response, but when people do start responding, often with vitriol, wow the ShitGrenaders can be a little bit surprised by it. In many ways, this is a good thing, because it helps all of us understand what is and what is not acceptable. Sometimes people really just do not know how their comments come across, but The ShitGrenaders certainly learn pretty bloody quickly.
I think my favorite group – because they are so cute – are the brand new people on social media. They’re straggling in these days, with the vast bulk of humanity already engaged, and the Newby posts their first comment – to which most people go “about bloody time you joined us,” and then they do some tentative stuff after that, before going a bit quiet for a while to observe what others’ are doing. Alternatively, they post absolute bollocks and before they know it, people jump on them, making them go quiet again. It’s a bit of a scary world for The Newbie, because they are entering an established structure, but don’t worry about it friends – there are plenty of dicks taking part, and we all cock up at some point with a lapse of judgment here and there. That’s life.
So are you willing to share who you think you are? AND of course, “who” have I missed?
Yours, without the bollocks