Many individuals use social media to adopt an alter ego for personal or professional reasons—or just to be an ass. In some cases it is planned and calculated, and in others the platform simply emphasizes or exaggerates the individual’s personality.
Be it your social media personality or an alter ego, we each have one. This list could easily be created with social-scientific personality names such as lurker, moderator, or curator. But I’ve chosen to title them by their celebrity equivalents to personify the corresponding social media engagement traits.
Consider it a game: How many of the people you engage with online can you match with each personality?
1. The Hilton (Paris)
Carefully selects which conversation to join by assessing how their social status (or Klout score) will be elevated. Status seeking is their reason for being, and they appear only when it’s in their personal interest.
2. The Beck (Glenn)
Compelled to share their opinions about others’ content and state those opinions as “fact” and inherently right. Many times this person is a writer, author, or similar creative type who focuses on what he or she sees as the essence or meaning of the content, regardless of the audience.
3. The Jones (Star)
Confrontational by nature, a critic who challenges every thought for the sake of it or to exploit a situation. Arrogant to a fault. Motivated not by personal gain but by the sheer pleasure of challenging authority and peers.
4. The Maher (Bill)
Observes the world and shares/forwards information with “some” opinion or commentary. Unlike the “Beck,” there’s an acknowledgement that their content is opinion with entertainment value and is delivered with a tongue-in-cheek sentiment and self-deprecation. They don’t take themselves too seriously.
5. The Kardashian (Kim)
Migrates to where friends congregate online and keeps track of others activities and actions. Usually seen online even when they are very busy offline. This social butterfly needs community and follower validation.
6. The Seacrest (Ryan)
Uses personality or even “shtick” to deliver news and present other content. They are always looking for an audience and adapt their presentation based on what “gets the laughs” (literally and figuratively). They become the “host” of online engagements.
7. The Clooney (George)
Listens rather than speaking and drives considerable action in many other areas. In social media terms, this person might be called a “lurker,” seemingly quiet online but yields considerable power offline.
8. The Spielberg (Steven)
Takes historical, personal, or current news content and adds spin to create unique and popular content with a signature style.
9. The Hanks (Tom)
Focuses on very personal interaction with digital and/online friends, keeping those personal conversations in very tight circles. This person instantly makes “best friends” and doesn’t have to work at being likeable.
10. The Walters (Barbara)
Discussions are formulated by convention, rules, and policies. Format is key. Engages based on a belief in what is expected from the platform or network versus from honest or genuine opinion.
11. The Winfrey (Oprah)
Focuses on group discussions and appreciates the totality of the conversation and group dynamics over one-to-one personal conversations. Prefers to engage—and educate—groups over sheer self-promotion.
12. The West (Kanye)
We all know who these people are. They succumb to the “little man” personality trait, which means they’re compelled to belittle others just to make themselves feel bigger, more important. Their only reason for engaging online is to pull others down.
Do people purposefully take on these roles, or does the medium simply showcase them? Your call.
Sam Fiorella is the chief strategy sensei at Sensei Marketing, where he is responsible for strategic campaign guidance and marketing technology development that power the Sensei Customer Lifecycle Methodology. Follow Sam on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn. A version of this story first appeared on the blog 12 Most.