Virtual Popped Collars – The 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media

I’ve got a confession to make. I think Twitter and I are in the midst of the terrible twos. I’ve been active on social media for just over two years now; just enough time for certain things to start getting on my nerves. I began getting little twinges about a year ago, when Klout and Virgin teamed up to offer Toronto “influencers” a trip to San Francisco or LA. People were clamouring for invites, being a little nasty and feeling quite a bit self-important if they’d received a trip. (Yes, I got one. No, I didn’t go).

Since then, it’s only gotten worse. Now, maybe I’m just noticing this because I’ve become a more avid tweeter in that time. It’s possible…but probably unlikely. People, some of you are becoming social media douchebags. Seriously. Social media has become, at times, the equivalent of a popped-collar frat boy and a fake-baked Jersey Shore girl’s love child.

Stop the madness! Here’s how:

The Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media Douchebaggery

1. Refusing to follow back

We’ve all been there. You’ve seen someone with thousands of followers who isn’t following that many people back and you think, “Wow! They must be pretty important!”. Think again. Although a “good” following/followed ratio might improve your Klout (more on that later…), it’s a jerk move if you refuse to follow someone back when you’ve been having a conversation.That little ego boost you get when you see that you’re following 500 people but 1500 are following you means nothing except that you give bad tweet. Twitter is for conversations and building relationships. Those objectives aren’t met when you refuse to acknowledge that they exist. It makes people feel terrible when they notice you’re not following them even though you’ve had many conversations.

BONUS douchebaggery: asking someone for a favour in a DM but not following them back. Seriously. Self-described friendly internet kid Lauren had this happen to her last week, quickly turning her “Sure!” into an “Uh…”. Don’t be this person. It’s awkward and rude.

Now, this isn’t a plug for #TeamFollowBack. I’m not asking you to become a Follow Back Girl…but show some respect to the people you actually engage with. Don’t worry about your ratio so much.

2. Auto-DMs

No one likes these. They’re impersonal, spammy and irritating. Especially if you’re in PR or digital, cease and desist! (You know it’s wrong and you’re doing it anyways. Why?)

3. Obsessing over your Klout

Ah, Klout. The little metric that could. We all know Klout has issues, yet we still check it often (guilty) and occasionally tout our scores like the newest It-handbag. A score that can drop 3 points in a weekend where you don’t tweet as much is not the be-all and end-all of influence measurement. Remember: influence is about people acknowledging that what you’re saying makes sense and seeing you as an authority on a subject. This really doesn’t change if you go from 100 tweets/day to 15/day over a weekend. /endrant
Tips to quit: check out measures like TweetLevel and PeerIndex. Be well-rounded in your social metrics.

4. Calling yourself a guru

Bad words in social media: guru, expert, maven, ninja, master. Please stop. These terms make you seem full of yourself and prove to everyone else that you really know nothing about social. In social media, we’re all forever learning. That’s the value and the draw of it. You can’t possibly know it all, so don’t pretend to.

5. Posting endless tips & tricks for social success

Now, I see the irony in this. Yes, I’m posting a “7 deadly sins of social”, but it’s also tongue-in-cheek. This is meant to be entertaining & (hopefully) informative, but does anyone really care about another 5 new ways to increase your Klout score? No. Are they interested in “7 new social media tricks to increase followers” or “How to: get a free iPad”? Probably not, unless you’re one of the aforementioned social media gurus with a cult following of follower-hungry tweeps.

6. Abusing hashtags

#omg #socialmedia #love. Not every word needs a hashtag. Hashtags are best used for an actual stream or a single witty phrase. When you use 15 hashtags in a 140-character tweet, it makes me wonder where the actual content is. Please…stop the hashtag abuse. (Note: Using hashtags for fun on Facebook: totally OK. Sparingly.)

7. Forgetting you passed grade 3 grammar

Sup gurl wut yu doin last nite? I herd yuu hung out wit the gai u lyyked. This is self explanatory. I don’t care if you only have 140 characters to express yourself or if it’s cool to spell like this amongst your group of friends (little cousins, I’m looking at you. Harshly). It’s absolutely ridiculous to think anyone can understand what you’re trying to convey.

What are your social media pet peeves?

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  • Love this post!

    More digital douchebaggery:

    – Endlessly tweeting that you’ve +K’d someone: (1) I don’t care that you think someone is influential about kittens and (2) There’s an option NOT to send it to Twitter, people.
    – Linking your FB to Twitter and vice versa. They’re different channels so you could take the extra 5 seconds to personalize your updates for each.
    – Scheduling your tweets so that your feed resembles that of @Mashable. If I wanted to read Mashable, I’d read Mashable.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Stella! 

      Those definitely get me going, too. The +K thing is a bit ridiculous, especially since it doesn’t mean anything right now. It’s more of the circle of douchebaggery the Toronto Twitter community is infamous for. 

      It drives me crazy when I see tweets on Facebook. It just seems lazy and annoying.

    • ramnik

      Oh my God, I can’t tell you how annoying it is the amount of accounts that schedule the same tweets as @Mashable:twitter

  • I think your points are so well taken. The truth, though, is that so much of this is basic common sense — if we only take a step back and think. So glad to now be following — and followed by — you.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Deborah! 

      These are definitely common sense points. It’s just unfortunate that so many people refuse to use common sense on social media. Glad we connected over this!

  • I love this post and the pictures you’ve chosen for each point! 

    All of these annoy me so much, especially 1, 3 and 7. Also on my list (that I can think of right now :P) are people who don’t respond to important questions but have time to RT silly stuff, people who only retweet stuff and don’t bother to even add their comments to those tweets, people who tweet stuff that’s “personal” and then don’t want to talk about it (I mean, REALLY?). 

    Also, don’t know why my twitter picture is showing up as this 😛

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Tuba!
      I feel like all of these things are universally annoying, even to the people who are super guilty of them. Your point about people who have time to RT but not respond to question definitely rings true with me. I know I try to at least respond to most of my queries/replies and it’s a sucky feeling when that isn’t returned. 

      As for the personal stuff, I always contend that Twitter isn’t your therapist…but if you want it to be, you’d better be open to providing details!