Just as in real life, you meet all sorts of people on Twitter, Facebook, blogs and online forums. While the majority are friendly and reasonable, there are a few who, well, aren’t. Do you recognise any of the following types?
1. The Obergruppenführer
The self-important, self-appointed overseer of whatever corners of the internet they frequent and the sole arbiter of all that is acceptable. Ruthlessly clamps down on anyone who transgresses or dares to disagree with them. It’s rare to find more than one in any given location.
They typically make Adolf Hitler look like Mother Teresa after taking an overdose of chill pills, and are about as receptive to any form of challenging debate as the Terminator.
2. The tease
Species: Attentionus seekus
Easily recognised by the way they will regularly post look-at-me updates such as “The most amazing thing just happened!” without providing any clues as to what actually happened, compelling their followers to ask “What? WHAT?!?” or, equally likely, ignore them altogether.
In the latter instance, this may be followed by an update bemoaning that nobody loves them and, in extreme cases, accompanied by a threat to quit social media altogether. There are no known cases of any such threat ever being carried out.
3. The abbreviator
Insists on speaking in text-speak language, abbreviations and acronyms, even when actually speaking to other people. Spends most of their waking hours LOLing (unless they’re ROFLMAO) and posting emoticons no one else knows how to produce 😄👍🎧🚲🐼✅. When they’re feeling down there’s lots of SMH and FML but they’ll usually sign off with a cheery “c u l8r” or a TYVM.
Untrained observers often confuse their curious, clipped tones with a foreign language. They’re not really wrong.
4. The comment bomber
Species: Bloggus ubiquitous (sometimes also known as copius pastus)
Routinely found in the comment section of every blog you read, where they will leave banal one-line comments such as “Great post!” in an attempt to maximise their backlinks.
Alternatively, they will copy and paste the same vague, generic response everywhere in an attempt to make it look as if they have read every post. Not to be mistaken for the related species spamma linka, which is a completely different animal.
5. The troll
Lives under a bridge threatening billy goats.
A parasite who derives sustenance by winding up other people in their vicinity. Like a skilled martial artist, they are adept at turning other people’s attacks back on themselves – the more you try to reason with them, the more unreasonable they become.
Frequently of high intelligence, the only proven method of combatting them is to ignore them and wait for them to go away, bored, in search of easier prey.
6. The joker
Species: Humorous excessivus
A happy-go-lucky, quick-witted and well-meaning type who is always the first to respond to any situation with a joke or a pun, regardless of whether it’s appropriate to do so.
Often living by the motto ‘Fire – Ready – Aim’, they are commonly preyed upon by dictatoria aresholia and spend almost as much time deleting tweets and status updates as they do posting them.
7. The spammer
Not to be confused with the link-dumping spamma linka, this inoffensive species often ends up offending people by posting such earth-shattering updates as “I’m awake!” every morning and “Good night!” every evening.
Other common examples of this type include those who religiously post what they’re eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day on Instagram. The irony of someone posting a photo of a tin of Spam on their timeline may not be obvious to them.
8. The social media expert
Species: Hootsuito Tweetdecko pro
You can set your watch by them. At the optimal time every day they will use Tweetdeck, Hootsuite or their army of minions to schedule updates across every possible social media platform reminding you of their latest blog entry. Everything they post is carefully crafted for search engine optimisation with just the right combination of hashtags.
Lives by the retweet, dies by the retweet. Success in their world is measured in terms of likes, comments, follows, retweets, stumbles, upvotes and shares.
9. The pedant
A creature with a small yet tenacious beak, they cannot allow a small factual, spelling or grammatical error to pass without making a nitpicking comment.
Typically perceive themselves as helpful while being viewed by others as annoying to the point of aggression, yet prone to angry and defensive behaviour when their errors are pointed out to them.
Dependent on environmental factors, can be either an ally or an enemy of dictatoria arseholia.
10. The starry-eyed fan
Species: Sychophantidae sychophantidus
Invariably identifies a host who they consider to be the alpha male/female in a group and parasitically latches on to them more tightly than Homer Simpson with a box of doughnuts. (Mmm, doughnuts.)
Once attached, the sychophantidae sychophantidus will support and agree with everything the host says, to the point where other users suspect that they are actually the same person using two different accounts. The only way to separate host from parasite is with a restraining order, and even they have not proven to be 100% effective.
(* Yes, I will admit to having exhibited the behaviours of at least a couple of these types at times. I’ll leave you to work out which ones!)
What other types of social media user have you observed in the wild?