I love social media. I spend huge amounts of time on Facebook and Twitter and have made some wonderful friends in internet land.
Spending so much time on social media, I have seen some reall boo-boos in my time – like a “parenting expert” who sent a #journorequest tweet when Rio Ferdinand’s wife died, saying they were an expert in breaking that sort of news to children. I’ve yet to meet anyone who thinks that was a well thought-out tweet – but a lot of social media no-nos are more a matter of opinion or taste.
The thing is, these days a potential employer or client is highly likely to look up your social media profiles before they even meet you – and what they see will inform their decision as to whether they even bother to meet you. Aside from that, a lot of things are just plain irritating for all concerned.
Here are some of the things on social media that I think are really not a good idea, and reasons why:
1. Constant negativity
We all have a bad day sometimes, and it can be good to commisserate with friends – but when it’s the end of the world every single bloody day – I don’t need that! I can find enough misery by looking around me, if I so wish – I don’t need you to help me with it!
2. Dirty laundry
There is a particular couple on my Facebook who seem to delight in bringing their disagreements onto social media for all their friends to see. A lot of the posts are not even friends-only. The first time it happened, it was vaguely amusing. After that though, it just became uncomfortable. Now when I see them in the street I want to tactfully suggest they consider a divorce.
This from the woman whose Facebook regularly contains updates of her daughter’s bowels! I know, right. But there’s a difference between relaying a funny tale of my daughter telling a shop assistant “my poo’s not coming out” and me giving you detailed updates on the stomach bug I’ve contracted. Nobody wants to open up their newsfeed and see details of your digestive tract! Similarly, we will take it as given that you love your partner/child/dog.parents. You don’t need to keep on with all the lovey dovey smooshy stuff.
4. Sharing incorrect nonsense/photos designed to tug at heart strings
Photos of abused puppies, appeals for missing school children who were actually found safe and well six months ago, infamous internet hoaxes that are doing the rounds from the umpteenth time. “Be careful everyone, there’s a man with a black van stealing puppies!” No, there bloody isn’t. If you’re going to post this rubbish, have the decency to at least read the comments or Google it first!
We all love a good swear from time to time – but if every single post is littered with effing and jeffing, that says something about you. That’s fine if you want to be known as a potty mouth – but potential employers or clients – or brands you might want to work with if you’re a blogger – might be put off by your creative use of the F word.
6. Broadcasting without interaction
We all have those days where we just have to schedule some posts and leave the internet to fend for itself while do some real life things. But if you’re consistently broadcasting your thoughts (or links) without tweeting real tweets or answering comments, people will get fed up. It makes you look aloof, as if you think you’re too important to be bothered with other people.
7. Never updating
The way Facebook works, the more you update the more your posts are likely to be seen by your fans. If you only update sporadically, you will find that those posts are seen by hardly anyone, and hardly worth your effort. With Twitter, if you never update people may very well unfollow you – or just not bother to follow you in the first place.
8. Endless self promotion
Yes, I know you have something you want to sell me/get me to read. If I want to buy/read it, I’m sure I will be able to find my way to your site without your constantly reminding me. On Facebook especially, posts have a longer shelf life and should be about a bit more than just your latest book/dvd/promotion. Social media is about being sociable. Although it can be great for raising brand awareness and even driving traffic to your site, the main aim is to engage your audience in a conversation. Post a photo, have a chat, make it personal (but not too personal, obvs).
9. Likes for likes
This one is probably a bit controversial – but if you get people to like your page as a personal favour, or because you liked theirs, they are not necessarily interested in what you have to say and may never interact with your posts. And then you’re in the tricky position of having numerous followers, but no interaction. For me, having followers is about quality rather than quantity. If you’ve got a hundred people who regularly interact with you, that’s better than having 500 who only liked you because you joined one of those ladder things, have no interest in what you’re saying, and never interact with you.
10. Automatic messages/requests for likes/follows/purchases
I’ve decided to lump all of these in together. Automatic messages on Twitter saying “thanks for following me, please like my Facebook page/visit my website/buy my book” are just tacky and I never click those links. In fact lately it has been tempting to just unfollow everyone who sends me one of those things!
On Facebook, if you like someone’s page it is poor manners, in my opinion, to then post a comment on their wall saying “I liked your page, here’s mine please come and like it back.”
On both Facebook and Twitter, it is perfectly acceptable to tweet or message someone either thanking them for the follow or letting them know you’re a new fan, and then saying “oh and here’s where you can find me” or something – but to ask someone to click on your link/like your page/whatever else is just tacky. And it makes you look like you’re begging for traffic.
What do you think? Do you agree with my list? Do you have any to add?