The Social Sourpuss ~ or ~ the four basic categories of social network users

Facebook Fascists, MySpace Puritans, Twitter Totalitarianism. Across all forms of social media you get that person who joined network early on and begged and pleaded for other people to join in and be their friends, followers or be part of their circle, their globally social clique. As time went on and the networks became more and more popular they started complaining about version updates, added features and more importantly (especially in the case of MySpace) increased traffic and with it spam. I am particularly keen on the early versions of MySpace, when with a basic knowledge of html, you could make your page look as slick or as lurid as you liked. I’m sick of being told that Facebook is dead (it’s very much alive) but I can still relate in some way to these early adopters, these pioneering souls who went boldly into the void and helped define a network before everyone else jumped on the bandwagon.

Then you get the Facebook Furian, those people on Facebook who seem to be constantly furious about something. Those that air their dirty laundry over the communal coliseum like gladiators taking swipes at each other in a social network version of the Jeremy Kyle show. Furians often combine their rowdy nature with voyeurism, scouring their timeline for hints that other people are talking about them, or saying something that give them the chance to start an argument. On evidence it seems that we all have run-ins with the Facebook Furian at some point and often succumb to Furianistic tendencies ourselves on occasion. I know I certainly do, probably more often than is healthy!

The Network Narcissist is probably the group that I most closely belong. I’m not particularly using Facebook to keep in touch with family, that’s what the telephone is for. I’m using it for self-promotion pure and simple. It’s somewhere where I can get my brand out there while keeping my personal life as personal as I want. It’s used to promote events, my radio show, my music and this blog you’re reading now. I use it to keep in touch with people who are into the same interests as me and/or follow my work. Ok I also slip into the Facebook Fascist when it doesn’t work the way I want it to and the Furian when something really, really frustrates me but mostly my ego rests proudly in this category. But what a lot of people can’t understand is that they fall into this category more than they care to admit. Why else would you think someone is interested in your photos of the dinner you just made, your status update saying you’re getting a new pet or snaps from your perfect holiday/day out? If you’re on a social network and have your privacy settings to anything other than close friends and family then you’re just as narcissistic as I am, you just might not be as open about it.

The folk I can’t relate to however is the Social Sourpuss. These are the people who have a social media profile but can’t seem to grasp how to use it or what it’s for. They may be socially inept in the real world too, or only comfortable in circumstances among close friends, not always but this is often the case. While there is nothing wrong with this the reason they become a Sourpuss is because they will often moan about “the voyeuristic nature” or “inflated egos” that social media seems to harbor. They are oblivious to the fact that their complaint is a paradox in itself, they are using the very thing they hate in a way that is in itself the thing they are complaining about. These are the sort of people who moan about people using mobile phones while driving but do it themselves. People who seem oblivious to the fact they are being two-faced while maintaining a holier-than-thou aura. Yes, you can probably tell by now that these people piss me off. They are after all probably the biggest narcissists of the lot!