I was a pretty early adopter of social media. When I jumped on that bandwagon, your average joe (at least in the UK) hadn’t even heard of most the channels I was using. I have a lot to thank it for. Without it, I wouldn’t have the career I have today and there wouldn’t have been a hope in hell’s chance of me having the network of contacts I now have. Despite that, I’m having a bit of a love/hate relationship with it at the moment. It provides never-ending entertainment (I mean, is there ever such thing as too many funny memes), it’s educational (you ALWAYS hear it on social first), I get inspired by it (Pinterest. Need I say more?) and when you’re having a down day, it can give you a much needed boost.
I love people watching. You can learn a lot about a place by observing the people in it. The same can be said for “listening” in to social media channels. People use it in so many ways that it’s become pretty easy to distinguish different tribes from it. Thought it would be fun to share some of the tribes I’ve identified (and hands up, have on the occasion been a part of). Which one do you fit in to?
The Unqualified Spokesperson
It’s safe to say that the past few months haven’t been the best for the world. Brexit, far too many tragic terrorist attacks, insane racism, military coups, Russian conspiracies, Trump’s popularity, a racist and homophobic Olympics…I could go on. We all have our own opinions on it and it’s great that social media gives us an outlet to air some of them, but as with many things in life, some people just take it too far. They act as spokespeople for just about any given topic, despite not having any qualifications or background to substantiate it. If something’s happening in the world, you can bet your bottom dollar that they’ll have filled their Twitter feed with commentary or updated their Facebook statuses with a mini essay. Don’t get me wrong, if someone can intelligently back up their opinions, I’m all for it but let’s be real for a sec…most of them are just talking drivel.
The Attention Seeker
“Life is shit”
“What a terrible week. Pass me the wine.”
“If you’re my true friend, like this status”
“This photo of me is like, SO bad, but I’m going to make it my profile shot anyway”
We all have them. The friends that constantly fill our feeds with “GIVE ME ATTENTION” statuses. They’re the folks that have most likely bought all their Instagram followers and then shout from the rooftops when they hit any follower milestones..when really, nobody gives a flying toss about it. They post pictures of themselves that have captions like “GOD I look so tired on Fridays” even though they know they look shit hot. After all, they’ve spent hours caking on make up and editing their photo to smithereens before hitting post. They post vague statuses that indicate they’re going through something rough but don’t openly declare what it is they’re going through. Either tell us what’s going on, or keep it as an inside voice. Simples. They are the tribe most likely to make you hit that unfollow button.
I read this article by Zoe Williams in The Guardian a few months back. “We have a narcissistic society where self-promotion and individuality seem to be essential, yet in our hearts that’s not what we want. We want to be part of a community, we want to be supported when we’re struggling, we want a sense of belonging. Being extraordinary is not a necessary component to being loved.” This tribe is the epitome of the epidemic Zoe is referring to.
The Diary Keepers
They had toast with peanut butter and banana for breakfast but they burnt the toast just a little too much #disappointment. We know this because they documented every last second of their breakfast making on Twitter AND Snapchat and then kindly posted a photo of the finished article on their Instagram by which point, their burnt toast is now rock solid and cold. Then it’s time for them to get dressed but they just can’t make up their mind on which outfit to wear. The pink one or the blue one? Obviously this requires a Facebook post to find out what everyone thinks (because we all care right?). Brunch with the girls is up next…#SOmuchfun. It resulted in 3 Instagram posts – a selfie, one of the restaurant and don’t forget the obligatory avocado on toast shot. You get the gist…
People. We do not need to know about this stuff. Absolutely nobody cares. If you’re honest with yourself, you don’t even care either. If you go to a good restaurant and want to give them a shout out, then by all means go for it. But we really should all have better things to do than document every last detail of our lives on an online platform. If not, I suggest finding a hobby.
The Constant Complainers
The only reason these folks got Twitter was so that they can threaten any brand that disgruntles them with a “I’m going to take this to Twitter if you don’t give me what I want” speech. Unfortunately for most of them, it’s unlikely that brands are going to care too much if you tweet a negative about them to your 2 followers (one of which is your mum and the other is a spambot). They are also serial reviewers – Facebook, Tripadvisor, Feefo, Google, Yelp…you name it, they tell the world how good or bad their experience was. I’m definitely guilty of using social for the odd complaint but I am equally as guilty of using it to shout major praise when people do something great. It’s all about balance right?
You met them once at a party and talked for a few hours so it legitimised accepting their friend request the next day. Since then, they’ve started following you on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat too. Fast forward 6 months. You’ve not seen them again. They don’t really post much on any of their own channels but they are nearly always the first person to like your status or latest Insta. It’s all a bit awkward because the chances of seeing them again is probably high but you’re starting to realise they know A LOT about your life and you know very little about them. Haven’t figured out how to handle this tribe yet so any suggestions would be warmly welcomed.
Which social tribes drive you bonkers?