As someone who spends hours a day in Social Land, it's interesting to see how different people use their social networks. In all actuality, that's the great thing about social media - there is no "right" way. That being said, there are ways of using social media that seem to be universally less-than-smart. I reached out to my personal networks on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to ask folks about their top social media annoyances and man, did my feeds light up like a Bob Marley concert. And while I am guilty of my fair share of these, it’s still worthwhile to reflect on what really gets people ticked off on social networks.
1. Airport check-ins
It seems obvious, but publicly announcing the fact that you are thousands of miles away from your home is not wise. Just Google "burglars social media" and you’ll see this isn’t exactly a best practice.
2. Using personal profiles for business
First Name: Vacuum, Last Name: Repair-n-Sales. Nah, I think I’ll pass on that friend request, pal. But when you have some time, let's chat about business pages.
3. Complaining about "privacy"
Privacy in social media is a myth. Yes, you can tweak settings, protect accounts, use fake names, etc., but it's "social" for a reason. If you have information you want protected, don't stick it on your social media networks.
4. Not having a custom avatar
If you want to be taken seriously in social, don't ever use the default network avatar. It says, "I'm here, but don't care enough to really put much effort into this thing."
5. Spam invites
Oh, so you’re on the board for the South Dakota Pet Groomers Association and you’re having a kitten fashion show on the 13th? Thanks for the invite on Facebook! See you then!
6. Excessive bowling words
You may swear in real life. And people judge you for it. Same thing with your potty-Tweets. Obligatory curse words rarely add much value.
7. Sharing your political views
I’ll be first to admit I’m a multi-level offender here, but know that you can seriously ruffle some feathers with politically laced updates. We live in the greatest country in the world and freedom of speech is our right, but it doesn't mean you won't be judged for your right/left political craziness. The two-party chasm is wide enough, and social media isn’t helping to bridge the gap.
8. Kid posts
I have two kids and one on the way (October 21 if things stay on schedule). My kids are awesome. But most of you don't care about them, and that's cool. If 75% of your updates are pictures of your kids, quotes from your kids, pictures of your kids playing sports, pictures of your kids watching kids playing sports… time to throttle 'er back, folks. You may be building a kid/dad/mom brand, but from my limited research, that tends to get old if not sprinkled in with non-kiddo stuff.
9. Live-tweeting conferences
Yes, you are attending the #WHATEVER2012 conference. Congrats. But tweeting every amazing quote, breakout session topic, or lunch item can get spammy, especially if your followers aren’t in the know. Personally, I find it one of the quickest ways to get unfollowed on Twitter.
10. Inspirational quotes
Tony Robbins and John Maxwell are total studs and have some great stuff to say. But quoting the dudes constantly - or similar folks like Plato, Abraham Lincoln, or Bono - does not make you a philosopher.
11. Facebook games
Play 'em, have a blast, but don't bombard my feed with requests to help you find the treasure map in the fifth world of Coindasher 5000. Please, oh please, stop inviting me to play these games. Please.
12. Falling for Facebook scams
Companies like Starbucks, Best Buy, and others do not just give away $100 vouchers for posting something to your wall. These are scams aimed at unsuspecting users and have “virus” written all over them. If it seems too good to be true, well….
13. 2 much txt talk lol!!!
Textese is great for texting, but ur status update 2 the public can make u look like a tool if u try to b 2 cool and type like a 15yo old lol! Keep your social activity professional if you want to be perceived as such.
13. Sending Pinterest pins to Facebook
Pinterest is for Pinteresting, Facebook is for Facebooking. There is no real need to send every lasagna recipe or sparkly vase to your Facebook wall as well. Redundant cross-network updates can quickly become annoying to many users.
14. Vague updates
You know what I'm talking about. Things like, "Some people need to get a life," and "So much drama! Argh!" Stop it.
Instagramming your food is so hot right now. While occasional food bragging certainly has a place, there is a careful balance between showing your foodie skills and looking like you have your face in plate 24-7. Save foodstagramming for only your most unique food ventures.
16. Checking in at home
Using geolocation services like Foursquare to check in at "Paul's House" is oversharing in its purest form. Again, the author is guilty as charged here, but I have been working hard to correct this and am proud of my progress.
17. The humblebrag
Am I guilty of this? Absolutely. Am I annoying people when I do it? Guaranteed. Classic humble brags include "Just ran 14 miles in record time! W0W!" or "Got five party invites tonight and not sure which one to hit up. #socialiteproblems"
18. The LinkedIn Hail Mary
Sending LinkedIn requests to people you have never met, talked to, or interacted with is (in my opinion) the exact opposite of what LinkedIn is all about. I love using LinkedIn, but I need some level of Linkedness before I'll accept your invite. Also, I realize others have a different philosophy, which is totally cool (right, LIONs?)
19. Assuming your network knows you
Not all of your followers, friends, fans, etc. know you as intimately as you think. May sure your social activity provides value to all levels of your follower base. Humor is easily misinterpreted online.
20. Multi-tweet tweets
Using multiple tweets in a row to get a point across is a trend that used to be called "blogging". Do your darndest to stick to 140 characters on Twitter. If you need more, take it to a blog, Facebook, or fax machine.
21. Talk about how rich you are
No kidding, I had a guy follow me on Twitter who listed his hobbies (in this order) as "My wealth, 3 fabulous children, 1 great wife". Seems wrong to have to waste #21 on this one, but apparently it needs to be done.
22. Liking your own status
You may be witty, but liking your own post on Facebook quickly crushes the wit credibility you’ve worked so hard to attain. Unless you’re Chuck Norris (who is above any and all reproach), you’d best leave the liking to others.
23. Saying goodnight on Twitter
"G'night Tweeps!" No explanation needed as to why this should stop.
24. Facebook chain letter photos
You know what I'm talking about. "Post this photo to your wall if you are are true fan of Lady Gaga. Only 2% of you will do it. Will you?". Barf.
25. The phantom photo tag
If I am not in your photo on Facebook, don't tag me to get my attention. OK, granted - it probably will, in fact, get my attention. But it will also annoy me to high heaven, resulting in the opposite effect you intended.
25. Hashtags on Facebook
I am neutral on this one, but to the non-#Twitter user, hashtags on #Facebook can be super #annoying.
26. Posting song lyrics as status updates
Beat it. Just beat it.
28. ALL-CAPS UPDATES
THERE IS A BUTTON CALLED CAPS LOCK AND WHEN YOU PUSH IT ALL THE LETTERS YOU TYPE BECOME UPPERCASE AND IT LOOKS LIKE YOU ARE ONE SENTENCE AWAY FROM RIPPING YOUR CAT'S HEAD OFF
We get that you're a photographer and that Facebook is an easy venue from which to show all your work, but what if I posted every spreadsheet and PowerPoint I did for a client in YOUR NEWS FEED YOU WOULD START TO GET ANNOYED (see #28)
30. Instagram emoticons
Who decided that Instagram emoticons were a good idea? Was this a Congressional vote I missed?
31. Pimping your Klout
Personally, I am in the middle on Klout. I see the value, and I like to see how my K score stacks up against others’. But it's pretty darn easy to cheat it and bloat your number, so use your Klout score only for what it is - a subjective ego boost (or deflator).
32. Public lovey dovey messages to your significant other
"Ten years ago I met the woman of my dreams who made me the happiest husband, father, and lover in all the land. Love you, babe!" I’ve got a better idea - talk to her and tell her this using real live words to her face. She will love it.
33. Auto-posting FB to Twitter (and vice versa)
They are different platforms, and they need to be treated as such. You don't play a radio ad on TV, right? And besides, redundant messages are redundant.
34. Twitter chats
Is there a more impressive way to clutter the crap out of a Twitter feed than to follow people who are avid Twitter chatters? Get a Google+ hangout. Or build an island on Second Life. Or something.
35. Liking sad stuff
I have never understood why someone would "like" a post about a dog dying or a bad car accident. Do they really like this? Or is a "like" the equivalent of a virtual hug? Or is the "like" actually an "unlike"?. So confusing!
36. Follow Friday - #FF
Luckily, we've seen this ridiculous trend fade recently.
37. Posting TMI
A friend who is the social media manager for a national pizza franchise told me, "I'm amazed by the % of mentions I read re: the 'exit strategy' of a guests' food. No one wants to know." I would concur.
38. Asking (begging?) for a RT or Like
I am sometimes guilty of this when it's a topic I’m very passionate about, but it’s better to let the organic nature of social take its course. Asking for social love makes you look a tad lame.
39. Twitter spam
Respect your audience and find the frequency sweet spot. @HuffingtonPost used to be my favorite Twitter profile for news. However, once the number of Kardashian-related tweets reached north of 5/day, we broke up. And it felt good.
40. Lack of punctuation
This is social media, yes, but when did that turn into sloppy second-grade writing? Periods matter. Apostrophes are important. Dashes are pretty cool also. Use proper punctuation and look smart!
41. The immediate snark
Everybody becomes a comic on Twitter, but oftentimes they’re simply not funny. Specifically, when a celebrity death or tragic international event happens, Twitter becomes a breeding ground for tacky comments and snarky reactions. Sometimes, it's best just to let it be.
42. The mirror self-portrait in the john
Taking a picture of yourself doing your best duck face and trying to look seductive loses a bit of its luster when you have Clearasil on your counter and some ripe undies draped over the shower rod. Just sayin’.
43. Using comments for an unrelated conversation.
"Hey, great picture of your family! But did you see Mad Men last night? Holy smokes, that Don Draper is a PLAYA!" Also referred to as comment ADD.
44. Take private dialogue public
Some stuff is better kept to an email, DM, private message, letter, carrier pigeon, etc. "Coffee on the 17th, brah?" "Cool, brah - should we hit up QCB at 7ish?" "Sure, sounds sweet brah." "See you then, brah." Okay, boys, take this somewhere else. (Thanks, @brienne)
45. Fundraising on Facebook
If your kid has to sell popcorn, magazine, discount cards, light bulbs, etc. as a fundraiser, make 'em hit the pavement. Parents, please stop asking me on Facebook to buy another Chili's discount card. I have seven.
46. Clueless personal branding
Never before has personal branding been so easy. Social media provides a powerful way to build a personal brand. But stick with it. Are you a business? Personal? Snarky? Professional? A little of everything? Find your brand and stay consistent. A lot of people also ruin their personal brand - quickly - with their social activity. I guess this is more advice than peeve. Bonus, I guess.
47. Spousal Facebook sharing
Nothing like the old friend request from "JohnJulie Frederickson". I mean, I love doing things with my wife and my Facebook activity is an open book for her (and vice versa). But creating the Siamese account is kind of odd. Not kind of. It's odd.
48. LinkedIn group spam
LinkedIn groups are great. They kind of serve as a modern-day listserv and allow you to virtually socialize with other people of like interests. That "like interests" piece is key. Nothing makes me jump out of a group fast that seeing a recruiter, headhunter, or social media guru posting totally unrelated content in a group.
49. The regurgitated conversation
Me: What do you want for dinner, child?
Me: But we just had pizza last night you silly child.
Jimmy: But I thought that was all you knew how to make!
50. Instagram followbacks requests
Begging for people to follow you back on Instagram is pretty lame (as are most forms of begging, I think you’ll agree). Don't ask for follows. Post good pictures and the reciprocal follows will happen.
51. Bad grammar
Grammar is important - in interviews, in letters, in person, and in social media updates. If you want to look like a tool, using bad grammar on social media will accomplish that as quickly as anything.
Do you have others you think should be included? We're already working on a follow-up list, so leave us a comment below and don't hold back!