So, as the force that is social media drives onwards and upwards, more and more newbies are entering the online foray that is Facebook, Twitter, personal blogging and the myriad of other social spaces available for us to live, work, and play on.

And with it, they bring their personalities into the social media spectrum, too. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

It’s important to understand the different personalities at work on social media platforms – so you can better understand how to connect, engage and build relationships with them. Or, on occasions, how to avoid the difficult and negative types out there.

These personality types can be found hanging out on pretty much all social media platforms – and for truly effective social media engagement, you’ll need to be able to spot them. Quickly.

Nobody wants to spend time engaging with a personality type on Facebook, for example, to find they are actually not beneficial, positive, genuine, open, honest and useful for forging a decent, long-term social media-based relationship.

So, and in no particular order, the seven main personality types are:

* The Sponge

This personality type is to found all over social media platforms, and they are worth connecting with. Like a sponge, they soak up content and pass it on. Constantly looking for more information, they take on huge amounts of useful, interesting and cool content – and then spread it as they go along their social journey. Brilliant folk.

* The Drain

This personality type is unfortunately out there, too. They suck up the good stuff, then regurgitate it. But not positively. Hyper-critical, negative, draining and rarely with anything original, constructive, or complimentary to add to the social debate, they are to be monitored. You can’t avoid them, but you can minimise their draining influence on your valuable social media network.

* The Guru

They’re everywhere, it seems. Contaminating Facebook, Twitter, blogging nonstop, and actually saying…nothing. Nothing useful, beneficial, just broadcasting and spouting. You’ve seen them, you know the type. And you must, must, must avoid them. The self-proclaimed Gurus will move on, and in 12 months be experts at something else. Grasshoppers in Business and Life.

* The All-rounder

These are one of my favourite social media personalities to be around. Smart, sharp, intuitive, sassy and direct. They observe, add value, and are nice people all-round. They give, share, contribute, and clearly love to be in the middle of the positive social conversations. These types are also excellent networkers offline, too, so find them, nurture them and stick with the winners.

* The Chameleon

This personality type are tricky, because they don’t actually have a personality to show on social media. They fit into whatever conversation at the time, and agree, agree, agree. You’ll never find them being questioning, or starting a debate – they are too concerned with everybody liking them to actually engage in a meaningful way. Watch the Chameleon, they’ll drag you down.

* The Observer

This personality type sees social media as a threat and an opportunity. They observe, but don’t engage. They listen, note, but never contribute. Then they’ll often take the best content and use it elsewhere as a part of their service offer. This personality type regards the open, genuine sharing of ideas and concepts on social media a waste of valuable selling time. Beware!

* The Maverick

This is another of my favourite social media personality types. Highly creative, witty, intelligent, alternative, they take a non-conformist approach and speak their own mind – always. Not one of the herd, the maverick will be in the middle of it all, sparking debate, making connections, and sharing great content. Don’t try to keep up with them, just enjoy their ride.

So – which type are you?