Social networking sites like Facebook have allowed us to share our lives on a very public space.

Given its prevalence in our lives, all of us have a stake in making Facebook a better social playground. Here is a look at the various personas that exist in the Facebook world:

Restrained user

He logs on to Facebook once every two to three days. He leads a hectic lifestyle and is involved in many social activities. He posts updates once in a while on his thoughts about an issue, or an event he attended recently. He makes occasional comments on friends’ status updates and then disappears for a few days. 

Silent killer

She rarely says anything on Facebook. If she does, it will be something serious or thought-provoking. For example: “It is always sad to see guys standing in the MRT waiting alone with flowers in hand. Does it delight women to put them through this?” The true character of silent killers is difficult to determine due to the sporadic nature of their updates.

Complainer

As the name implies, this is someone who complains about everything under the sun. Common sentences are “I hate you”, “Arrrrgh, why is this happening?”,  and so on. This Facebook persona injects a lot of negativity into the social media environment, using it as a channel to vent his anger and frustration. He should try to turn the angst into something positive.

Entrepreneur

Many people are using social media as a platform to promote themselves, their products and services by forming a group or creating a fan page. Both are equally effective as the objective here is to ensure that people who join your fan page are your possible target audience.

You can turn a social media page into a marketplace filled with business transactions, networking and business ideas. 

Opinion leader

These are people who are trendsetters in their respective fields. The opinion leader often has more than 1,000 people in his friends list. And since reach is all about numbers, more friends translate into more power and influence.

Some strategies they use include “retweeting” quotes used by prominent figures or posting comments that are controversial and thought-provoking. The objective is to evoke responses from other users.

Gamer

Gamers are there mainly to participate in the latest game craze. Bejeweled, FarmVille, Zoo World and Café World are some of the games that occupy many a gamer’s waking hours. They may post a brief message every now and again, but once the gaming mode is switched on, it’s “goodbye”.

Tweeterer

Tweeterers are users who like to share friends’ links, videos or updates with their own friends. This character usually does not generate his own content, preferring to live vicariously through sharing “third party” events.

Attention seeker

This Facebook persona constantly uploads nice makeover pictures and group pictures taken at a meal or outing. She has at least 50 photo albums with hundreds of pictures uploaded. To the attention seeker, pictures paint a thousand words.

The camera-happy Facebooker tends to be self-absorbed, assuming that her most trivial activity is of interest to other people. She is likely to post comments like: “I am eating ice cream” or “Check out my new hairstyle”. She just wants someone’s attention!

Social media butterfly

Social media butterflies are extroverts who will initiate conversations with just about anyone. They happily add strangers as friends, initiate chats, and make friends along the way.

When a social butterfly requests you to be his friend, check out his profile and whatever information you can draw from his page.

Ignore his request if you do not feel comfortable about sharing parts of your life with someone you hardly know.

If you are a social media butterfly, be aware that people may not take you seriously, or worse, have difficulty trusting you. While it is good to be friendly, you probably need to exercise some discretion.

Campaigner

This person loves to lobby for causes, whether it is saving the rainforest or collecting signatures to protest against an unfair law in a faraway country.

Campaigners are people who aspire to make a difference by rallying other people to join them. Sometimes, they can be very effective as change agents.

It is useful to remember that social media platforms at their best can help you to strengthen personal and business relationships, widen your network and help you reconnect with people you have lost contact with.