Sociopaths using social media – eh!

[soh-see-uh-path, soh-shee-]
–noun Psychiatry .
a person, as a psychopathic personality, whose behavior is antisocial and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.

Sociomedia. (as coined by @panaveyard – brilliant Pan)

As we know the web in it’s current format is conversation. Not only that but because it’s digital, it’s trackable.

So we use the web for conversation, creativity, business, sharing etc and it would seem, on the surface, it’s good. However, there is a caveat that comes with it:

Everything you put on the web, stays on the web. And everything you put on the web is trackable.

What does this mean?

This means that there is no “divide and rule” i.e you can’t just “make it up” and/or “slander” etc and think that you can shirk responsibility for what you have done. At some point it will come back and bite you.

Some people on the web, so it seems, have adopted this rule of “making it up”.  They remove posts that challenge them and court only the ones that they can bask under. But they forget that their “rant” can be seen on e-mail, tweets, blogs, forums etc and a collective of these will tell a different story.


In the short term this method of “socio-media-path” may work.  In the long term it will hurt, not only the perpetrator, but the people around them. Since web 2.0 began there have been many attempts to control content, and sadly it’s still going on, but all have failed. Community do not like to be lied to.

So the lesson to learn from this is simple:  exercise some self control and remember what goes on the web stays on the web.  Don’t become a socio-media-path, you’re only hanging yourself.

Let me say thanks to @panaveyard for sparking this blog.


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  • I love your re-use of words and re-contextualising of them. Note though that socio-path could also refer to a journey or a way where a tour guide is showing someone the ideal path to take to use social media.

    Just a #flought …

  • Yes, this is definitely true.

    You occasionally see blogs where people delete comments they don’t like in order to try and promote the view they are trying to achieve.

    There have even been some corporations where they have tried to control social media by not allowing people to post negative comments – this just backfires as people then share those comments somewhere else, with no chance for the corporation to engage with them and to put their side of the debate.

    Personally I would only delete a comment if it was offensive, otherwise it would stay – it’s ok for people to have a different viewpoint from you as you can debate the issues openly.

    If you state one viewpoint and then change that, without a very good reason, it will cost the credibility of the poster – you cannot manipulate the web.

    The great thing with the web is that it is so open – a great example you shared a while ago is when you are for example buying a new car, people don’t go to the manufacturers site where everything appears perfect, they go to the owners forums to find out if there are any issues affecting their purchase. It’s something I did when I bought my last car.

    This information is freely available – people just have to google a companies name now and all these results are there for people to see, rather than the ‘official’ controlled site where everything may appear perfect.

    It’s the same with performance statistics too, as these are easily trackable.

  • Anonymous

    Hi James. Indeed.

    The cost of control is vast, not only for the perpetrator but the people around them. #sociomedia


  • Socio-media-path – I love it.

    I just wrote a blog post over on Ecademy about the dumb masses killing social media ( It’s an ill gotten gain that these people are trying to achieve. At least when Google ‘controlled’ influence with search results they could adjust the algorithm when people tried to beat the system. Today people are all out to sell and manipulate not to mention over exaggerate. I’ve no doubt just as in the real world that some of these will succeed but pay the price of not being liked much or having ‘something smelly’ about them.

    More than this though I hope that the people who are advocating the open and supportive approach will keep educating and holding up the right values. Maybe we can lock up the socio-paths or @thebookwright ….can we dig them up (er,down?!).

    Great post Nick

  • Anonymous

    Hi Tom, it’s a great re-use of words. Although I can’t take credit for it as it was @panaveyard that came up with it.

    However, I was trying to come up with an explanation for this terrible use of control and this is a perfect way of illustrating it.

    It’s such a shame that people are mis-using the social streams at their own cost.


  • Mark Alexander

    Interesting article. I also really like the “Like Button” with the Social Media plugins. I’ve Tweeted and Facebook shared it from the propt that popped up when I gave it the thumbs up. Please let me know where you found this Plugin. It’s a great way to spread the message virally. We also share the same appreciation of Tag Clouds – cool aren’t they? I use the same one on

  • Anonymous

    Just read your blog on ecad Jonnie – quite right, looks like there are a few that are “keeping the cause” and I’m sure at some point that the “penny will drop” – alas there probably will be a cost to it.


  • The best way to deal with them is to use their energy and deflect it for good – as you would do in a martial art.

    Writing about it here and on platforms where this behaviour is prevalent is the first step. Demonstrating a better way being the second. Only by learning will the message seep in.

    This way they will eventually get on the right socio-path …

  • Firstly, congratulations to @PanAveyard for coining the phrase.
    It’s a very interesting phenomena this ‘sociomedia’ approach. If you are truely ethical, moral and transparent then nobody who comments negatively can possibly hurt you as there is no substance to their assertions. You merely answer the points raised thruthfully, accurately and without excess emotion or ignore them if they are entirely outrageous.
    Manipulating content through positive encouragement to skew responses or through censorship of public opinion can and will seriously effect the credibility of the author and may well result in adverse comment elsewhere.
    Individuals and organisations should welcome constructive comments from their readers and look to embrace these opinions either responding with judtification for their action and requesting further response or, by adpating and changing to reflect what the readership/client base wants. An example of this would be Dell computers who embraced customer feedback after a difficult start.

    Nick, thanks for posting yet another excellent and thought provoking article.

    Rob Hubbard
    07960 753550

  • Steve Mcnulty

    Abs-sol-utely Nick. The web has the longest memory known to man and…as it is digital…the words and meaning do not deteriorate.

    However, as in all things in life, treat others as you would wish to be treated is the watchword. Adult conversations never do anyone any harm. Parent-Child utterances are no use to anyone.

    Keep it up…


  • Anonymous

    Eh up Rob, cheers for that.

    You’ve hit the nail on the head for sure.


  • Anonymous

    Quite right Tom, deflection is always good.


  • Anonymous

    “The web has the longest memory” oh yes it does.


  • Anonymous

    You know it Mark.


    P.S great new site.

  • Allanblairbeaton


    You say it like it is and your knowledge is never ending. I really enjoy reading your blog posts, and I really look forward to reading more. You really are an authority on the social web and what ‘really’ goes on out there…


  • Allanblairbeaton


    You say it like it is and your knowledge is never ending. I really enjoy reading your blog posts, and I really look forward to reading more. You really are an authority on the social web and what ‘really’ goes on out there…


  • Anonymous

    Well thank you kind Sir.

    I would suggest that we’re all experts, but I do concede to the enjoyment of documenting it.


  • As I stated in my initial comment, I found this article very thought provoking. What I mean about this and many if not all of Nick’s articles display ongoing relevance. They can be referred to at any time in the future and still have substantial meaning.

    On the telephone recently to Nick I referred to him as a Jedi Master, it’s the way that he takes a situation, an opinion, an argument or an event and portrays both his feelings on the matter whilst also often capturing those of the reader in such a concise way. Personally I find this style very appealing and am learning alot from ‘Master’ Nick in this regard and long may it continue.

  • Warren Cass

    Great blog Nick, I totally agree! It astounds me that people don’t exercise the etiquette they would if they were having these conversations face to face. After all, the internet has a longer memory!


  • Great stuff Nick & spot on !

    Funnily enough just today I had to respond to a comment on your Property Tribes forum from someone that I think would have benefitted greatly from reading this first.

    Keep up the thought leadership !!

    :) Martin

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