This is a guest blog entry from Karin Gerber.

Social networking has become the present day means of keeping everyone together, ranging from families, friends, to business colleagues.  It’s a fantastic way of keeping people and businesses on the same page, socializing in ways more than just by picking up the phone or sending out memos.  But as with any kind of relationship, whether it be personal or for business, you have to be wary of those you interact with.  You want to pick and choose the types of people to correspond with.  You want interactions with those that promote good for both sides.  Anytime you’re in a situation where one party gets more than the other, it’s an unfair advantage, especially if it’s at the cost of one or the other.

There are groups of people one should avoid in business as well as personal.  These groups of people can be draining, time consuming, and not beneficial to your life or company.  These are the groups of people you need to avoid.

The person who asks you a zillion questions to get any information he/she can find.  Granted, social networking is a fabulous way to interact and learn from one another, but when it becomes one-sided, then there’s an issue.  If you come across someone on Twitter, for example, who only asks you questions about you business or your ideas but doesn’t give much in return, that’s a warning sign to stay away from that individual.  Both parties need to gain information, not one over the other.

The person who boasts about him/herself and is taken too seriously.  These kinds of people only want to rant and rave about how well-respected or how wonderful they are.  They use social media as a means of boasting their accomplishments, whether or not they really were accomplishments to begin with.  If you don’t get any important information from these people who could help your business or marketing strategy, then stay away and leave these folks to boast to themselves.  Another group of people that belong in here are the ones that know-it-all.  Again, most of the time they are looking to shamelessly promote themselves without any regard to how they can help you.  It’s a give and take, not a take and take.

The person is always promoting something.  Whether it’s a new book, a new article, a new item to sell, or an idea to promote, the list goes on and on when it comes to shameless self-promotion.  There’s nothing wrong with promoting your work on social media, that’s called proper marketing, but there’s a fine line between good and excessive promotion.  If these shameless self-promoters do nothing but blab about their items or ideas all day long, they become rather annoying rather quickly… and people end up avoiding them.  Self-promotion is fine, as long as it’s not overdone.  Moderation is key.

The constant complainer.  There’s nothing wrong with giving a complaint here and there.  As a matter of fact, complaining on social media can actually help you in certain situations (see article “Got A Complaint? Use Social Media”).  Complaining to a company because of poor customer service on Twitter can be very helpful and can get you positive results.  The problem lies when people use social media to do nothing BUT complain.  These are negative individuals who look for people to read their complaints, and unfortunately reading enough negativity will eventually rub off on you.  There’s enough negativity in this world… we don’t need any more.

I’m sure there’s plenty of folks to steer clear of in the social networking world, and I’m sure many of you have encountered the above types of individuals or businesses.  The key is picking and choosing who to pay attention to and who to benefit from.

For additional types of people to avoid in social media, see Small Business Trends.