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the people in your network neighborhood March 2, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Staff, Technology Trouble.
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Having worked in management and HR, I know quite a bit about social networking. I don’t have a degree in it, nor do I consider myself an expert, but I’ve taught myself how to research people before hiring them. Generally, these folks are ones to look out for before you let them on your network neighborhood.

(I had to make that reference. It was just too good to leave behind.)

Anyway, one of my Facebook friends sent this out as a note. Here’s That Guy’s annotated edition of “The People in Your Network Neighborhood”:

Exhibitionist – laughs out loud and jovially invites co-workers to come one, come all, and look at pictures of their weekend at [insert popular weekend destination here] or take part in the hilarity of the YouTube video with that pre-teen dancing to the new Britney jam.

We used to have a guy like this at CS. His desk was two away from mine, so in addition to being next to the train tracks (my old desk was right next to old OTS guy), I had to listen to every one of his favorite YouTube videos of the day multiple times — and since his shift was 9-6 and many of the people he worked with were 5-1 or 1-10, I heard it at least three times a day if not more.

I admit I’ve done this from time to time, usually with this:

Voyeur – likes looking at your screen, but quickly averts their gaze if you should look up, because they don’t want you to know they have been tracing your every online move for the last 30 minutes.

Who hasn’t been that person?

Creeper – slinks around, peeking fiendishly at your screen, then comments later on your hot friends (this personality is usually over 40 and married, with kids).

These days, the Creeper has been replaced by the Facebook Miner — the person who friends all your hot friends on Facebook, then views his/her (usually her) photo albums and sends the URLs to his/her (usually his) equally-creepy, Facebook-mining friends. These people also usually engage in stripmining.

Paranoid – suddenly flails their entire body at the screen when someone walks by 15 feet away, even though they were just benignly about to purchase some shoes online.

When CS moved to their new building, I sat down with the office manager and ensured that I would have one of two very specific desks in my department’s area — my back to the wall, as few people behind me as possible, and nowhere near old OTS guy. I got exactly what I asked for. I’m still a little paranoid, but it’s better now that I don’t have a desk where literally everyone can see what I’m doing.

Judge – likes to look at your Facebook page and grade you on how many friends you have, how attractive they are and how many people post to your page.

Related to the Creeper, I suppose.

Competer – often this computer personality goes along with the judge. Once they have deemed your Facebook page sub par, they proceed to tell you how many more friends they have than you, how more attractive their friends are than yours and how many more posts they have on their page.

There aren’t as many of these around now that the New Facebook exists. I used to put boxes and apps on my Facebook page just for the sake of doing it (no, I never invited you to play Mob Wars — those types of apps drive me crazy), but with the new layout, it just seems pointless. Plus, the New Facebook is so heavy on the JavaScript that if you put any more apps on it, your browser will crash itself on general principles.

Stalker – only joins social networking sites so they can see your pictures and what you do in your free time so they can bring them up in awkward conversations to be shared later at work.

A woman who recently left CS to work for an even bigger corporation used to post some pretty revealing pictures on her Facebook and MySpace. No nudity, but she was in some pretty revealing outfits (out at bars and parties and such). I mentioned this to my boss after she friended us both, saying, “do you think she realizes..?” My boss confirmed that she was fully aware and didn’t care.

She didn’t resign because of her Facebook; no one in HR even knows how to use it, and the people in her department don’t care as long as she doesn’t impugn the company or her co-workers. She never did. But many of the men at the office loved when she went on vacation because she always, always posted photos.

Phobic – can’t seem to find that link on the “internets”, believes that having any of their personal information posted on the “interwebs” will lead to an alien assuming their identity and they will be forced to walk around like a pod person in cyber hell for all eternity…something like in that movie with Sandra Bullock back in the 90’s.

This type of person is generally older, but they’re — dying off sounds bad, but it’s a good phrase to use. They’re realizing that no matter how much they hate computers, they have to use them or else they’ll become obsolete. Old OTS guy is actually very good with computers, and our company’s most prolific and highest-skilled writer is in his fifties (and has been at this office since the late 70s/early 80s). The only “phobic” person I know is one of our youngest employees — I think he’s 25 or 26 — and while he has an iPhone (which has a built-in GPS), he steadfastly refuses to join any social networks.

Novice – doesn’t know that other people will actually see those nude pictures they posted from last weekend’s beer bust, then becomes quite surprised when the entire office has not only seen them, but carries them around on their iPhone. Example: Jill posts her R-rated jpeg’s on her MySpace page and they are then copied on Jack’s page. Mary Ellen rips them off from Jack’s page and then Mary Ellen’s nosy mom gets a peek at the Girls Gone Crazy party pics. Appalled, Mary Ellen’s mom tells Jill’s mom about them and now 24-year-old Jill is forced to have a birds and the bees talk with her mom…again.

This just makes me laugh.

Narcissist – Googles themselves…a lot.

I have to admit, I used to do this. I share a name with a fairly well-known musician (same spelling and everything), though he lives on the west coast and I live on the east coast. We’ve exchanged e-mails a couple of times. If you google our name, you’ll find about 80% of the first 100 entries being about him. Most of the ones about me are old articles I wrote when I was still working as a political blogger.

Interestingly, my old pseudonym also doesn’t come up as me most of the time. Instead, it comes up with the name of a somewhat-influential minister. I’d never even heard of him before I took up that pseudonym. Oops.

Fact finder – no matter how absurd the argument or point they are trying to make, this personality will bull-headedly say, “but I saw it on the internet.”

Yeah, I totally do this.

Quiet Genius – perhaps the scariest of all, this person is a tech wizard, often asked to fix the mundane little problems that arise in the office. They quietly help you reset your password when you’ve been locked out or zap that nasty little virus you got from spending your day surfing the internet while you should have been working. It’s a thankless task and one day, you’re afraid they might just snap and take out your bank account, your email and turn you into a pod person forced to live in cyber hell for all eternity.

Let me just refer you to Mr. Fix-It on this one.

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