6 People Freelancers Meet on Social Media

We freelancers depend on social media. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and whatever else happens to be popular, can all help us to build our professional image, meet colleagues and prospects, and generally find out what’s going on in our field.

As we’ve said before, social media is about relationships–and at the core of relationship you find people.

For today, I thought it might be fun to take a lighthearted look at some of the people freelancers are likely to run into when they are active in social media. If you’re active on social media too (and I hope you are), you’ve probably already run into some of these characters.

Six People You Meet Online

I’ve been on social media for quite a few years now, and I’ve noticed that certain personality types tend to emerge over and over again.

This is my unscientific tongue-in-cheek categorization of some of the people you meet online:

  1. The Cynic. No matter what you do or say, the cynic always knows better. She’s smarter, more informed, and better at what you do–at least in her own mind she is. If there’s a typo in your post or your tweet, she will find it. She always disagrees with you, even when she didn’t read what you wrote. There’s something funny about the cynic, though. You’d think her own website and social media usage would be exemplary, wouldn’t you? Yet time after time, I’ve found that’s not the case. I guess she’s too busy correcting all those errors she sees the rest of us making to get it right herself.
  2. The Cheerleader. You’ve probably met the cheerleader–he’s the consummate “yes” man and the polar opposite of the cynic. Whatever you do online, he absolutely loves it and can’t wait to tell you how much he loves it. Sadly, he too rarely actually reads what you write. You could tweet about blowing your nose and he would retweet it and tell you how helpful it was. Sadly, the cheerleader has a downside too. Usually, he wants something from you (usually something for nothing), but instead of coming right out and asking for it he tries to butter you up first. Like you can’t see right through that strategy…
  3. The User. One good thing about the user–she’s forthright about what she wants, which is something for nothing. You’ll know you’re dealing with a user when you suddenly get a direct message from someone you never heard of asking you for help. A typical user DM: “Can you find me some freelancing work that pays about $50/hr and is interesting, but isn’t too hard to do?” Sheesh! Let’s be real. Doesn’t everybody want that? I used to try to help these folks, but the truth is that they can really eat up your time if you’re not careful.
  4. The Salesman. He’s always on social media, but rarely communicates directly with you unless you’ve made a purchase or seem about to make a purchase. If you’re about to purchase, he suddenly becomes very attentive and very encouraging. Nearly everything he posts to social media has one purpose only–sell his product! He never tires of linking to his own landing page. Really, does pushing product this hard ever work?
  5. The True Friend. Yes, believe it or not, there are real people who use social media. The true friend is one of these. Just when you think you’ve had it up to here with all the posing and faking that goes on, she steps forward and has a real conversation with you. She really reads your posts and thinks about them too (and you start to read hers). She’s encouraging, but she’s not afraid to let you know if you’re doing something wrong. She seems to get you, to really understand what you’re about. You might actually find yourself wishing you could meet up face to face at the next user conference and have a long chat.
  6. The Client/Prospect. He or she is out there on social media somewhere. But, if you’ve been acting like one of the first four personalities I just described, the odds are that you’ll never get to meet the client/prospect. He or she will be turned off before you even get to share your elevator pitch. You see, most client relationships are based on trust and trust is based on relationship. If you’re constantly putting people down, or buttering them up, or using them, or being too pushy you’re not going to have much of a relationship with anybody.

Now, I know there will be those who read this article and say that cheerleading or using or selling has really, really worked for them. Well, I have my doubts about that–but if it’s working for you all I can say is–more power to you. The rest of us, however, prefer to deal with real people. (I’ve probably quietly unfollowed you already.)

What About You?

Have I missed any social media personality types? Add any personality type that I’ve missed in the comments.


  1. says

    Controversial. Do you have some scientific statistical data that there is some merit in all of this?
    If what you are relating is what you observed, at the very least they are doing something. Don’t you think that is better than doing nothing?

    Now which one of the above am I?

  2. says

    You chose the right kind of people Laura!

    Social media is truly about relationships, and that is how you find people and connect to them. Yes indeed, we do come across all kinds of people, but we learn and adapt to their natures also pretty soon I guess. Makes me surely wonder which category do I fall in ?!!

    Thanks for sharing :)

  3. says

    Thanks guys!

    Gold & Harleena, In general, I’d say that if you’re worried that you’re not engaging enough and not building relationships–you’re probably okay. :)

    This is more about the people you meet who don’t engage at all (and we all know there are plenty of those). My approach is not to autofollow, which eliminates a lot of these social media types. I almost put “spammer” on here too, but that is probably too obvious.

  4. Mary says

    I would suggest ‘The Cynic’ should be renamed ‘The Pedant’ – the Cynic is the one that says they don’t believe in social networking sites, they’ve never got any work of them, and consequently it’s all a complete waste of time. Yet they still visit regularly to point that out.

  5. says

    Interesting article, as it seems to relate to the people i’ve met on social media personally. But really can a freelancer avoid the first four personalities. I guess not. But we just have to adapt.

  6. says

    Hi Mary, I think your name for cynic is probably more accurate. :)

    Asoto Adeola–Actually, in a sense it’s fairly easy to avoid most of these folks since they are not really interested in engaging. Most of them won’t even notice if you stop following, unfriend them, or whatever. Just keep engaging with real people in an authentic way and you’ll likely run into some of the last two types. :)

  7. says

    You forgot the “SM Junkie”.
    That’s the guy that “networks” with everyone with no interest in anything but increasing their numbers. The “Junkie” usually has no interest or connection to your service just wants your count!

  8. says

    @Gold: What would scientific data add to this?

    She’s observed her people on social media networks, analyzing their characteristics. That’s all it is. I too have seen all of these people and it’s fairly easy for me to spot out people who really want to engage others, because they are quite passionate about it.

    I’d say if you don’t believe it, you probably aren’t into social media. But even in forums/blogs, you can find these people so that doesn’t make much sense either.


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