March 29, 2015

Lauren Galli

Internet Personality Types: How to Handle Them

internet personality typesBy Lauren Galli, #Strella Creative Director

Considering that the words troll, lurker, and creeper are now part of the American vernacular, it may be safe to say that the influx of internet personality types isn’t lessening anytime soon.  We’ve all had our negative experiences with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram whether it be in the form of unfriendly advice, direct messages, or an unwarranted comment 48 weeks after you’ve posted a photo.

Whether you’re the victim of well-timed mudslinging, a social media mob, or you're simply a recipient of someone else’s vitriol, the question remains: how do we efficiently and effectively handle the barrage of negativity on social media?  In order to answer this question, we must first examine the different personality types that exist on the internet.

  1. The Lurker/Creeper/Troll – This is the person that gives a thumbs up to social media lurkereverything you post, scrolls through your Instagram timeline liking pictures from 32 weeks ago, and never really says much. They can also make innocuous comments that make you concerned that they simply wait for a picture or status to go up, and then immediately respond to it.  This person may seem harmless, but they do have the ability to make you a little unhinged.  Most times, we’re posting in social media mediums to get the word out about something we care about or want others to know, so when this person likes said status, it loses its value because they like everything you post.  To effectively handle this personality type, you could tag them in a comment and ask for their opinion.  This allows them to know that you’ve noticed them and their attention is important, but you’d like more interaction.
  2. The Judge – This is the person that makes judgmental comments on items you post. For instance, if you post a photo of something funny that they don’t agree with, they feel the need to tear you down or make you look badly in the presence of your social media audience.  This can be easily remedied by taking a stand for what you believe in, but doing so in a private message.  This will drive your point home, but not spew negativity and cause a battle via comments on your page.  If the person truly believes in what they’re saying, they will understand your purpose and respond accordingly.  If not, let it go, as they will never be satisfied with any justification you can offer.  It is not worth wasting your time.
  3. High Horse – Social media has given everyone a public soapbox on which to stand and voice their opinions. This personality type posts political statuses calling other people idiots or simply comments with profanity laden rants on statuses you post.  This can best be handled by refusing to engage and sink to their level.  Silence is golden when it comes to this type of argument.  You don’t want to take this to a public forum and show yourself being reduced to their level.
  4. The Housebound Reviewer – Taylor Swift said “haters gonna hate," and she was right. Some people get their kicks from saying horrific things about fellow Facebook friends or businesses they follow. If a person offers a negative review of your business on Facebook, Twitter, or even LinkedIn, the best way to handle it is with an intelligent and well-crafted response.  If you’re being personally attacked, you may be better served by reporting the person through the channel or blocking them.  This personality is filled with disrespect and has no concern for your well-being, so it’s best to let someone else handle it.
  5. The Spammer – This is the most irritating type of personality in all of social media. This is the person that comments on your posts with links to “business opportunities” or inappropriate videos from YouTube.  These people are best handled by a ban or block.  Delete the comments so your target audience isn’t thinking that you’re condoning their behavior, and ban the user from posting to your fan page.

While most of the aforementioned responses are Facebook specific, there are similar ways to handle these personality types on the other channels, as well.

When used appropriately, social media can offer an open forum for an engaging and productive debate. But this opportunity is limited when you've got someone looking to cause trouble. When in doubt, draft a well-worded, but respectful response or simply ignore them.  I wouldn't recommend engaging with them beyond this, because it will ultimately add fuel to the fire.

What personality types have you encountered? Have you find a solution for these internet antagonists?

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