London-based PR and Marketing Consultant

Social Media Tribes

Social Media Tribes

Social media tribesI 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 2017 hasn’t been the best for the world. Brexit, far too many tragic terrorist attacks, insane racism, military coups, Russian conspiracies, Trump…Whilst we all have our own opinions on current affairs, the ‘unqualified spokesperson’ takes it too far. They act as an expert in any given topic, regardless of whether or not they have the right qualifications or background to substantiate what their words. Whenever something happens in the world, they are the ones filling their Twitter and Facebook feeds with a running commentary on it or offering opinions on other posts that make them sound more knowledgable than they probably are!

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 those “GIVE ME ALL THE ATTENTION” statuses. They post pictures of themselves with captions such as “GOD, I look so tired today”, even though they’ve probably just spent 4 hours having their make up and hair done. They need reassurance and response from their followers in order to feel fulfilled. They’re the tribe that will most likely have you reaching for the unfollow/mute button.

I read this article by Zoe Williams in The Guardian a while 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 this tribe document every last second of their lives across ALL their social media channels. The first cup of tea of the day. Their walk to work. Photos of their lunch. #bored mid-afternoon post. Their dinner. Their bed time routine. And then repeating it all again the following day. Gaining an understanding of how much is too much is the secret to reneging on membership to this tribe. It’s all about balanced content!

The Constant Complainers

The only reason these folks got social media was so that they can threaten any brand that disgruntles them with an “I’m going to take this to Twitter if you don’t give me what I want” speech. 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! This tribe can be an important one to keep happy for brands.

The Stalker

You met them once at a networking event 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 post. 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. You then bump in to them on the tube. “Oh I saw you got engaged,” they proclaim. #weird.

What social media tribe drives you bonkers?