Social Media

8 Villains of Social Media

Social Media Marketing sure isn’t easy.  It takes time to get to know the space you’re in, to network with like minded users, and to develop a strong content strategy that works within your niche and target social channels.

But to make matters worse, there are users who can (and will) make your road to success even more difficult.  So in order to prepare you for your journey, here are 8 of the most common villains you’ll encounter on your path, and how to defend against their attacks:

The Troll

Appearance:

An offensive or childish image

Favorite Social Setting:

Video sites, Anywhere comments aren’t actively moderated

Method of Attack:

The Troll comments exclusively with the intent of offending other users in hopes that someone will write a retaliatory comment.  The use of profanity, racism & sexism, wild accusations, and direct attacks are all a part of their arsenal.  It’s sometimes difficult to spot a troll as they can sometimes appear to be a Skeptic or Know-it-all.

Weakness:

The only way to deal with Trolls is to ignore them.  They rarely comment in places that are moderated; and while burying the comment may seem to work, it simply becomes a metric for how well their comment achieved its intended goal.  Ignoring them takes their power away.

The Disrupter

Appearance:

Default avatar/no avatar

Favorite Social Setting:

Blogs

Method of Attack:

The Disrupter makes comments that add nothing to a conversation because they didn’t take the time to read or watch the entire article/video/etc.   They also have a tendency to repeat an earlier comment because they were too lazy to read them as well.  These types of comments can be fairly disruptive to a good social conversation, and are quite annoying on blogs. The Disrupter can sometimes be associated with the Shameless Link Dropper.

Weakness:

Pointedly ignoring them by only responding to other (good) comments is your only defense.  Responding to a Disrupter will only further interrupt the conversation, not to mention: they’re unlikely to see it anyways.  Other users will notice that a well thought out comment that adds to the conversation is rewarded with a response, while these are not.  In rare (extreme) cases, the comment can be removed by the moderator.

The Skeptic

Appearance:

Vectorized image of their favorite science fiction character

Favorite Social Setting:

Social Bookmarking sites like Digg & Reddit

Method of Attack:

The Skeptic is usually the first to claim that something isn’t real.  To them, everything on the internet is fake.  All images are photoshopped, all videos are scripted, and all statistics, facts, and reports are made up by the people who have most to gain by them.  Also, all supporting evidence that the item in question is, in fact, real: is made up as well.  Not to be confused with the Know-it-all.

Weakness:

None.  Ignore them and they become right, provide evidence and they’ll continue to blindly claim you’re spreading the conspiracy (regardless how trustworthy the source).  Your best bet is to bury their comment and hope others will see them for what they really are.

The Shameless Link Dropper

Appearance:

No avatar, A Company logo

Favorite Social Setting:

Blogs, Forums, & Viral Content

Method of Attack:

The Shameless Link Dropper comments only to insert a link for the potential traffic and/or SEO value.  You can generally spot these from the short (usually complimentary) comments (e.g. “Nice post!”), the keyword rich user name (e.g. buy_viagra), second grade grammer skills (e.g. “This is good points”), and the general spamminess of the destination URL.

Weakness:

Strong comment moderation.  It’s also wise to have a comment policy that clearly states that link dropping is not tolerated unless it’s relevant to the conversation.

The Bury Brigade

Appearance:

Can be anyone

Favorite Social Setting:

Social Bookmarking sites like Digg & Reddit

Method of Attack:

Their sole purpose for signing in to Digg or Reddit is to bury submissions that don’t meet their standards of what should be on the front page.  In rare occasions these users group together to target power users who are “too good” at getting submissions to go popular.  They also have a tendency to fill out spam reports and report users & sites to moderators.

Weakness:

Power users.  Nothing frustrates the Bury Brigade like social bookmarking success.  And if one of these users dislikes one of your submissions, unless you’re a power user, you could be dead in the water.

The Whistle Blower

Appearance:

Smug photos of themselves

Favorite Social Setting:

Social Bookmarking sites like Digg & Reddit

Method of Attack:

Calling content producers out for anything they suspect is done for profit, for example: splash advertising, article pagination, SEO link bait, “blog spam”, promotional content, etc.

Weakness:

Extraordinary content.  Despite all of the above things being somewhat annoying to most users, you can get away with some of it if the content is remarkable enough.  The Whistle Blower will still probably call you out for it, but it will fall on deaf ears as (to others) the quality of the content overshadows the minor pet-peeve.

The Know-it-all

Appearance:

A slightly altered photo of Einstein or a mash-up of mathematical equations.

Favorite Social Setting:

Forums, EVERYWHERE

Method of Attack:

The Know-it-all rarely comments unless it’s to disagree with or correct the content producer or another user’s comment.  They’re generally great fact checkers and revel in correcting a specific fact, but would rather argue about opinions.  They also love to point out grammatical errors.

Weakness:

Strong (yet modest) arguments.  It’s nearly impossible to change the mind of the Know-it-all.  Your best bet is to respond to them with rational arguments that present a strong case in a modest tone.  Let their arrogance and opinionated argument work against them making you look like the rational, impartial one to everyone else.

The Emo

Appearance:

Anyone

Favorite Social Setting:

Anywhere

Method of Attack:

The Emo only attacks when disturbed, usually when taking a comment or criticism too personally.  An attack can come in any form or level of extremes depending on the individual & emotional reaction. A conversation between an Emo and a Troll or Know-it-all can be volatile.

Weakness:

Time.  Tread carefully when you upset an Emo.  You may think a quick response to defend yourself or perhaps even explain your comments is a good idea, but most of the time it only makes matters worse.  Depending on how upset they are, time may be required for them to calm down before you’re able to start up a rational conversation about whatever upset them.  And sometimes, it’s wise to just let it go…

83c586a3f2162c534435eefee92d83a7 64 8 Villains of Social Media

Todd Heim

Todd Heim is CEO, co-founder, and SEO manager of Essential Internet Marketing, LLC, an SEM and Social Media Marketing company based in Albany, NY.

You Might Also Like

Comments are closed.

23 thoughts on “8 Villains of Social Media

  1. Nice Post!

    HAHA, I'm not a shamless link dropper I swear, I do know a few Skeptic-Know-it-all's. They kill me, it's one of the most frustrating conversations a person could have!!

  2. Forgot 1…

    The Heimster

    Appearance:

    Modified image of Squidward or backwards baseball cap

    Favorite Social Setting:

    'Extreme' paid webcam sites

    Method of Attack:

    Offers to buy drinks. When bill comes, goes to restroom and never comes back. (you still owe me $104.76, jerk)

    Weakness:

    Deep pan meat lovers pizza. Can't just eat one.

  3. This is good points!! Ha, just kidding! Seriously though, I like this post and it saddens me that these people will really never be gone from the interwebs, they just move on to another blog. Most of them seem to originate on Digg and Reddit according to this list..almost makes me wonder if social bookmarking sites may end up fading away.

  4. It's great that you posted this, now I can compare who is who LOL. The only villain I haven't encountered is The Emo, I'm kinda intrigued with it's posts. Did an Emo already try to comment on your posts?

  5. Good classification (i just stopped myself from writing 'nice post')
    I hope i am not one of them…these villains would come to my mind while promoting my sites..

  6. This is hilarious. I have been all the above at one time or another and I have learned from all of the above at one time or another. Thanks for keeping us honest. As a good link dropper, I must maintain my rep and pass this on. I hope you don't mind.

  7. Think I've come across the smug photos and the emo types before.
    These are just a few of the species in the wild kingdom of social media. Let's also add the chameleon types who have a different pic daily (or hourly) and seem to contradict themselves each chance they get (related to bandwagon fans).

      1. Sure. These chameleons are also known to justify their actions by constantly name dropping or quoting some known authority figure every chance they get. For reference, look for “Well, Mr Big Time Social Media Expert/Bad-Ass said this, so I'm following them and am this much closer to perfection than you”. Then when you show them anything to make them think about their conviction, they automatically swing the other direction. Faster than you can blink.

        And let's also add the “Helpless Expert” who seems to also be asking for help on everything short of how to walk. These types tend to be part-Chameleon, but also part Skeptic, and part Emo, depending on the amount of attention received and level of satisfaction with it.

        May remind you of a crying baby at times.

  8. I wish I had seen this months ago. I got trapped by a troll and fell into his trap. I wish now I had just ignored him.

  9. I think this is good customer service training fodder…and I see parallels to Jerry Springer/Ricki Lake type show guests…some of whom are professional…

  10. You left out:

    The Knob –

    Appearance:

    Here

    Favourite Social Setting:

    Home play-ground

    Method of Attack:

    Smug point form critique

    Weakness:

    Lack of humour resulting in boring content and inability to take flak