12 of the Most Annoying Online Behaviour and Personality Types
The internet and social media are a double edged sword. One of the greatest advantages is that they allow anyone to share their thoughts and words with anyone else, anywhere in the world.
One of the greatest disadvantages is that they allow anyone to share their thoughts and words with anyone else, anywhere in the world.
Whether you are writing blog posts, sharing things on social media or just trying to have an interesting discussion it is impossible to avoid the spectrum of idiocy as it applies to online discourse.
Further as with most things, people are complex and messy. Few people will rigidly fit into any one category.
Instead it is likely that most people will display a mixture of these personality types and this will sometimes vary based on the situation.
I think we all have certain personas that we take on in different situations and that applies to the internet just as much as anything else.
N.B. I will use the terms persona and personalities interchangeably here — I think the main difference between the two is that personas are generally shorter lived but when you encounter someone online it is unlikely you will know what their actual enduring personality is like.
Just to be clear this is not an academic post. It is based on my personal observations of behaviour.
The Overly Needy Personalities:
Like most of these personality and behaviour types there is a lot of overlap between them and there are likely a lot more variants. These are just the ones I have encountered most myself:
The Reassurance Junkie
This type of person will ask for clarification or help with every decision they have to make in their life — no matter how small or inconsequential.
If you make the mistake of getting involved you will likely end up having to make more and more decisions for them.
It is the proverbial “slippery slope” and you will end up regretting it.
The Overfamiliar/Over Demanding Person
This person will act like they are your best friend after knowing you for an inconsequentially small amount of time.
They are also likely to message you excessively and make increasing demands on your time.
They will take offence very easily if they think you are not “being a good friend” and don’t engage or respond to them enough.
Again the more you do, the more you will have to do and it is a slippery slope.
The Angry Brigade:
These seem to be the types of behaviour that you run into particularly if you make any kind of written blog posts or other original content.
The Armchair Contrarian
The armchair contrarian is someone who lurks in the background waiting to pounce with his or her passive-aggressive assertions and cask-aged snark.
These individuals are generally frustrated with life and skeptical by nature.
Unlike true skeptics they are too lazy to actually do any work.
They will appear whenever there is rationality or logic and use their signature move — disagreeing with something without actually reading it or indeed making any reasoned arguments.
They think they are rebels but the truth is that they are immature and insecure in their own intellect.
The Aggrieved Arguer
This type of person either has an extremely negative core belief about something or they have had a bad experience with it — perhaps both.
As a result they are unable to tolerate anyone or anything that may present positive information about it.
The only way they can get any kind of satisfaction is by going around the web looking for articles and posts about the issue they have a problem with and firing off angry comments.
For example, I wrote an article about some research on Lasik eye surgery and got some angry responses on Twitter and elsewhere from people who run websites which are dedicated to proving that “it is the greatest evil of modern times”.
These people are defined entirely by being against something and cannot normally be reasoned with — the only means of escape is to block them which is what I had to do.
The Keyboard Warrior
This is someone who has seemingly lofty ideals and makes a lot of noise about a particular issue.
Superficially it would seem they really care about it, — but if they are ever pushed to take any definitive action (or contribute any real life time or money) they will disappear very quickly.
In some ways this is very similar to the armchair contrarian — they want to give the appearance of standing for something but can’t be bothered to put the time in.
The Perpetually Persecuted
This person is always complaining about how they are being harassed or persecuted in some way.
No matter where they go or what they do it “appears” that everyone or everything is against them. They are blind to the fact that their own actions may actually be instigating the very behaviours which they are complaining about.
It is rarely possible to reason with them and any kind of criticism is likely to get you labeled as one of their oppressors.
They will often also have some kind of back story that they frequently rattle off about how they have been persecuted in real life.
They will present themselves as some kind of heroic person or martyr who tried to do something great in actual or real life but got shot down by TPTB (the powers that be).
Whether there is any actual truth to this or not it is likely that the vast majority of it has little or no actual external reality or it has been embellished to the point where it bears no relation to it.
The Art Hater
This is something I have noticed when it comes to sharing any kind of artistic work.
These kind of people seem to have no understanding about the subjectivity of artistic appreciation.
They seem to be driven by a core belief that all art is basically frivolous and unnecessary. They just don’t get it and have great frustration that other people seem to derive pleasure from something they don’t understand.
They realise that the vast majority of the population don’t agree with this stance/perspective so use the classic human behaviour of using passive-aggression to express their dissatisfaction.
This often takes the form of asking pointless rhetorical questions or nit-picking technical issues.
Attention Seeking Types
The internet basically runs on attention so to some degree almost all of us are seeking attention in whatever we do. There are always people who take things to extremes though.
The Attention Whore / Exhibitionist
This person will do anything they can do to get attention. They will often post about outrageous and often personal things that the average person would rather keep private.
If they had a tagline it would be “too much personal information”.
They will also say things they don’t necessarily believe just to get more of the attention that they are dependent on — this will lead to them frequently contradicting themselves.
Pointing out such inconsistencies is a fruitless labour though because they won’t care.
The narcissist will typically turn every kind of engagement into an opportunity to talk about themselves and tell everyone how great they are.
They will expect everyone to share their content and help support them but rarely give anything back in return.
You will find them giving the appearance of getting heavily involved in whatever appears to be “big” at the time and conspicuous by their absence as soon as the attention moves on.
They will take credit for all successes and shirk any kind of responsibility for any failures — that is if they stick around long enough for the failures to occur.
As soon as they think they have more to gain from something else, they will be gone.
The Copy/Paste Commenter
This often applies to responses to blogging although you will sometimes encounter it on social media too.
It is not always for negative reasons -sometimes it is because someone doesn’t speak your language well and so only know one or two phrases (which they always use for fear of saying something wrong).
More often than not it is because they are lazy and are trying to get the most attention from the least amount of work that they can do.
They want you to read/like/follow or comment on their work and think a good way of doing this is to send out a vast multitude of identical responses to everyone they can.
It is basically the spammer’s strategy.
Sometimes these people are so prolific that you will wonder if they are actually real or a bot.
Most of these people seem to learn that it is not really conducive to building relationships or getting positive attention but there seems to be a hard-core that keep doing it indefinitely.
The Link Spammer
The link spammer is really a variant of the copy/paste commenter except they will basically spam comments with links to their own posts.
There is nothing wrong with sharing links that are relevant to a particular discussion but that is not what the link spammer is about.
Sadly in this case the person spamming the links will usually post them alone and in threads that bear absolutely no relation to what they are posting about.
It has to be one of the most counter productive means of trying to get attention.
The Serial Tagger
This is one of the most annoying types of attention seeking. This type of person will create entire posts that consist of little else except tagging others.
I think I first noticed this on Facebook where people I only knew very superficially would tag me and multitudes of other people in photos I wasn’t in and had nothing to do with me.
A particularly annoying and more recent version of it involves creating tweets that have no content in them other than tags — I don’t even understand what I am supposed to do with that.
In fact I really fail to see how the people doing this kind of thing expect a positive response.
I think this behaviour is most often associated with the attention seeking and needy groups of behaviours/personalities.
I’m sure there are a lot of other personalities and behaviour types that I have missed off — so I will apologise in advance.
More than ever, the way we treat people online and the way we behave is absolutely vital to our ability to network and hence make money.
Your online persona is your brand.
Sadly I think most of us, including myself, have slipped into these kinds of behaviours and personas at various points in time.
The key thing is to be conscious of how others may perceive our behaviour and try to see things from different perspectives.
Over to You
What annoying behaviours or personality types have you come across?
Which one(s) do you find most annoying?
Let me know in the comments.
Thank you for reading
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