Human Behavior has always fascinated me a great deal – Both in the real world and in the “virtual” world. And ever since I’ve been active on Social Media for the past few years, I’ve noticed a few behavioral patterns in people I know.. Something which intrigued me, interested me and even puzzled me…
Broadly, I noticed the following categories of behaviors (primarily FaceBook and Twitter)
Category 1 : Offline Status = Super Social, Online Status = Anti Social
These are the kind of people who have a zillion friends in the real world. Everywhere they go, they know someone, or are well known within specific networks. They have an active social life, actively participate in one / many activities of interest to them. What I broadly call “Super Social” as far as the real world is concerned. As for as their online presence in social networks goes, it almost does not exist. In some cases they have a profile on FaceBook or Twitter, but hardly connect with any of their friends neither do they post updates about their active social life. I asked a few such people I personally know about why they were not so active on Social Media (given the whole world is headed there). Several valid responses, the Top ones were “Not interested in connecting virtually when I can do the real thing“, “No time as the real-world keeps me busy enough“, “Don’t still get how you can be social in the virtual world!”
Category 2 : Offline Status = Super Social, Online Status = Super Social
These are the kinds of people who are “Super Social ” in the real world – They have friends everywhere they go, They are well known and popular in the circles / groups / communities they’re a part of. And they carry this side of their personality to the online world as well. So they have a zillion connections on FaceBook, Several thousands of followers on Twitter (& also follow several thousands of people), etc etc. They are active on most of the Social networking sites and every day there are several updates from them. My only thoughts are “Just how do they manage to do it?” and “Don’t they ever sleep?” – However they do it, hats-off to them!
Category 3 : Offline Status = Anti Social, Online Status = Anti Social
This is the kind of people who keep pretty much to themselves : both in the real world and in the virtual world. They have very few social connections in the real world, and keep it this way even in the online world. Many of them don’t even have profiles on FaceBook, and while some of them do, they barely connect with anyone or update their status. Their favorite responses “Not interested” or “I really don’t know what to say ” or “Who’d be interested anyways!“. Hmm. Well as long as they are happy with their status, who can say / do anything?
Category 4 : Offline Status = Selectively Social, Online Status = Selectively Social
This is the category that most people I know usually fall into. They are selectively social in their associations and connections in the real world (Some past / history, common interests, hobbies, topics of conversation, etc. usually drive engagement), and exhibit similar behavior in the virtual world. They typically connect with people they know or want to know better for a specific reason, are restrictive about their privacy settings, and guarded about what they share on Social Media.
Category 5 : Offline Status = Anti Social, Online Status = Super Social
This last category of individuals intrigues me the post. They are “Anti Social” in the real world – No smile, No greeting, No Hello (even if they know you), barely have an active social network or social life in the real world. And when you see their online status (read FaceBook, Twitter, etc.) you will be pleasantly surprised (in some instances almost shocked) to see their activities, connections, how frequently they share content, how much they disclose about themselves.. They are completely “transformed” individuals – Almost like a “dual” or “split personality”.
I wonder often what triggers such a drastic change.
Is it because they don’t have a real world social life they try to compensate in the online world?
Is it because they can start afresh & build new connections with people across the world?
Is it because they enjoy the freedom & choices they can make in social media?
Is it because they are more comfortable to connect, engage and interact “virtually” – without Face-2-Face interactions
On one hand it’s good. As Aristotle said “Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual. Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god.” . So better to build social connections – even if it is in the “virtual world” than have none at all!
On the other hand, I wonder how one can have such contrasting sides to their personality?
NOTE: By pure logic, I am sure that several other combinations of status are possible. However, I have listed above the one’s I have pre-dominantly observed.
ADDENDUM – For ease of understanding, I have depicted this in a Matrix.. Refer below
What’s your view? What categories of behaviors have you seen? Leave a comment to let me know…