All too often I find myself cringing at the antics of online creeps.
I watch them repeatedly putting their digital foot in their mouth, and hope that the web police will swoop in and take them down.
But sadly the sirens never sound. And the online creeps keep creeping, seemingly oblivious to their digital faux pas.
Unfortunately, the internet doesn’t come with an etiquette handbook. And some people struggle with the rights and wrongs of online behaviour.
So I thought I’d share some of the creep types I’ve met online.
“Even more unnerving are the ones who studiously ‘like’ all 56 photos you’ve posted on your business’ Facebook page in the past seven years.”
Recognise any of them?
CREEP 1: The Private Messager
You add a quick question in an online forum, and within seconds The Private Messager is filling up your inbox with salesy guff.
Now don’t get me wrong. I know the power of the cold call, and their digital equivalents. But frankly they leave me feeling icky.
Unless someone asks you to get in touch, sending them unsolicited messages borders on spam. And it’s effing annoying.
And then when they follow up their first unwelcome mail with a bleat about your lack of contact. Ugg.
CREEP 2: The Facebook Friender
The Facebook Friender takes it one step further. Not content with just messaging you they add you as friend, putting you in the awkward position of having to ignore or refuse their request.
When did ‘friend’ become a term for some random you’ve interacted with once in a community? Cool your boots, buddy!
CREEP 3: The Ceaseless Self-Promoter
The Ceaseless Self-Promoter takes any and every opportunity to promote themselves.
They lurk in cyberspace, waiting for any post relating to their industry (basically any post with an ‘a’ in it). And then they pounce and promote.
Sometimes it’s worth taking your foot off the sales pedal instead of scrabbling about in communities, fighting over opportunities like seagulls fighting over a chip.
CREEP 4: The Bad Mouther
The Bad Mouther takes to social media to berate the competition.
Whether it’s poo-pooing someone else’s point in a forum, or naming names and being out-and-out negative, the Bad Mouther is quick to bite and holds on tight.
Sadly, they don’t realise they’re doing far more damage to their own brand than they are to their competitors’.
CREEP 5: The Know-It-All
It doesn’t matter how old the post or how simple the question.
The know-it-all just can’t resist diving in and writing an 800-word essay in response.
They quote references, link to articles, and generally smother you with their knowledge.
One gets the feeling it’s less about being helpful and more about positioning themselves as clever clogs.
CREEP 6: Group Adder
Sorry, but I don’t want to be added to your “Soulful Vegetable and Piglet Lovers who Drink Wine*” group.
If I did, I’m quite capable of adding myself.
Don’t add every person you know to your group, because then they’ll have to leave and you’ll feel sad.
* Actually, this group sounds pretty awesome.
CREEP 7: The Emoji Lover
The Emoji Lover answers every comment with a smiley face or animated minion GIF.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about vacuum cleaners, email marketing or scrofula. They have an emoji for every occasion.
CREEP 8: The Friendly Advice Giver (a.k.a The Expert Opinion Maker)
Ah, unsolicited advice. Don’t ya just love it?
If you’ve happily posted a picture of a hedgehog or some other proud achievement you can expect someone to quickly come along and add comments like… “In my expert opinion…” or “Just some friendly advice…”
If I wanted your advice, I’d ask for it. But I didn’t, so don’t give it to me.
CREEP 9: The Defender
This unhappy soul asks for feedback on something, and then gets itchy and defensive if the feedback is different to their viewpoint in any way shape or form.
And sometimes downright rude.
The rule? Don’t ask a question if there’s a chance you won’t like the answers.
CREEP 10: The Secret Affiliate
Be warned. Not all recommendations are created equal.
That kind person tooting the horn of a product or service? They just might be a paid affiliate.
And while there’s nothing wrong with affiliations, it’s always good to know if there’s some secret back scratching going on.
CREEP 11: The Thankless Asker
The Thankless Asker usually asks questions they could easily find on Google if only they weren’t such lazy beasts.
Instead of doing the work themselves, they prefer you to do it for them.
Don’t get sucked in. If you do help them you’re unlikely to be thanked. They’ll just take your answer and run.
CREEP 12: The Inappropriate Dater
The Inappropriate Dater uses social media to pick up at the worst possible times.
They’ll send you unsolicited messages, tell you you look hot in your LinkedIn profile photo, and ask about your marital status on Google+.
Even more unnerving are the ones who studiously ‘like’ all 56 photos you’ve posted on your business’ Facebook page in the past seven years.
Take thyself to Tinder, creep face!
If you recognise yourself in any of these descriptions (and while I wrote them I’ll admit a few are a bit close to the bone), step away from the keyboard and think about how you’d act in real life.
Would you ask someone to be your friend after one quick introduction?
Would you thrust your business card into the pocket of someone you didn’t know?
Good business manners matter, even when you’re online.
Over to you
Have you had a bad experience online with one of the creep types talked about? Please share your stories in the comments below.
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This post originally appeared on The Flying Solo website.