Social Media Mistakes: 5 Things You Need To Stop Doing

penguins Antarctica

First, let’s set a few things straight. There is no such thing as a social media expert, guru, ninja or any self-adorned title. Those are smarmy terms people use (ineffectively) to say that they might, MIGHT, know more than the average person about social media. The tricky thing about social media is that no one is really an expert. Tomorrow, Facebook could decide to change all of the fundamentals about its site operation and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. That’s why no one is really an expert, these are platforms over which we have no control and they are so fluid and dynamic that it’s impossible to say you’re a ninja. Besides, no one except for real, star-throwing, walking-on-roofs martial arts experts should use that term. Ever. So please stop.

Ok, now that we’ve set the stage, I want to use it to say that I am not an expert, although being a ninja would certainly appeal to the 7-year old boy lurking deep inside. But I do spend a lot of time online and I do spend (too much) time communicating via several different social media platforms. It is from this incredible expense of time and energy then that I speak, and not as a slick guru trying to sell you something. Keeping all of this in mind, I’ve put together a short list of social media mistakes; behavior that I hate seeing on social media and I would guess that many others might agree with me.

1. Obsessive, self-absorbed Retweets on Twitter

It’s awesome when people take the time on Twitter to either mention us or to share our Tweets with their followers. Sharing is caring, as the saying goes. What I do not understand is why people then Retweet those Retweets. Allow me to clarify. Let’s say Jon Snow has his tweet shared by Mr. Whitewalker. Jon then retweets Whitewalker’s retweet of Jon’s original tweet. He’s basically trying to tell the world, look someone found my information useful and I will passive aggressively share this information with you. It makes no sense and is intensely annoying so please stop. Unless Oprah retweets you, then you may boast all you want.

2. Connecting your Fitbit/YouTube download status to Twitter

The ability to connect other parts of our lives to social media sounds great in theory, in practice though it’s an entirely different thing. I think that people who do the best at social media know when they should and shouldn’t use it. In other words, we don’t need to know literally everything you’re doing throughout the day, instead curated highlights are a lot better. There’s so much noise in social media, seeing people’s FourSquare/Swarm check-in to gyms, their running stats, how many pushups they did, whether or not their dog pooped and which videos they’re uploading to YouTube is just too much. It doesn’t mean anything to the rest of the world and instead makes me think that you’re not quite sure what you’re doing in the social media world.

3. Syncing Twitter and Facebook

I’ve said this a million times but it bears repeating: different social media platforms exist for a reason. Twitter became popular because it offered communications that are in a very different format than Facebook. Pinterest is around because no one else was sharing images in that way. Since social media platforms are inherently different from each other, it then makes sense to treat them that way. The way in which you communicate on Twitter should necessarily be different from how you communicate on Facebook, G+, Instagram and so on. By syncing your networks so that every time you post something it goes to all of them at the same time using the same messaging ignores the fact that they’re different. No, instead you should craft messages that are unique in style to the platform and which speak to your DIFFERENT audiences on each platform. Plus it’s just really annoying, so there’s that.

4. Oversharing

Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t mean posting too often or too regularly – everyone has their style and that’s fine. No, I mean when you cross that invisible line between what should and shouldn’t be shared publicly. Many of us, myself included, forget just how many people see what we post. On Twitter I have more than 56,000 followers; I’ve lived in cities with fewer people. I know I forget just how widely shared my information is and that sometimes leads to comments or even photos that probably shouldn’t have been shared. The worst offenders I see are folks in skimpy clothes. Once in a while, if you’re at a beach or somewhere else that is appropriate then a shirtless or bikini shot is fine. But if I start seeing you shirtless in odd and unlikely places, then I know that all you’re trying to do is to show off those abs and while you may be attractive, that gets annoying over time. It also tells me that you have nothing of value to say or share, so you just take off your clothes. I follow people because they’re interesting; if all I wanted was to see some flesh I’d rent a porn.

5. Food Pics

One of the most popular things to share online is food – we all love taking photos of the great meals, snacks and drinks we consume and I know I for one love to share them. But if you’re going to share a picture of that great steak, you need to make sure it’s actually a good photo. Thanks to the nature of ambient lighting in restaurants, the vast majority of food photos come across looking like brown lumps, no matter what the dish actually is. If you simply must share that steak, then consider providing some additional light using a friend’s phone or tweaking it with an editing app like Camera+. There is nothing better than seeing amazing food photos on Instagram, but there’s also nothing worse than seeing the 4th brown lump of the day.

What are some of your social media pet peeves?

By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer.

16 thoughts on “Social Media Mistakes: 5 Things You Need To Stop Doing”

  1. Matt,

    Great post you got here. This is pretty much how I feel as well.

    I remember a few years ago before there were any twitter programs and services available. Twitter was so awesome and clean. Now though.. Uhg. Sometimes I don’t know who’s real and who isn’t.

    I’m having difficulty with even picking out the real people from the fake. Everything is all scheduled, replies are set on automatic, direct messages are all automated and so the fun twitter experience just disappears.

    So I took a different approach..

    I refused to use all this mumbo jumbo and made sure I replied to people who asked questions. I wanted to be seen as a real person and not this twitter bot, going out to get every cent they can from their visitors.

    But in saying that, there have been a few tools that have helped my sharing a little more, such as when my followers are online and what not.

    But I’ll be honest, too. I have played around with some of the social media updates. I like to throw in a few personal things, because after all, I run a personal blog. But it’s just a matter of not going full on with it as some users do. I like to balance it out.

    Anyway, enough of me. Thanks Matt. I’m gonna give it a tweet now.


  2. Nice tips Matt! I so agree with #1. Along those same lines, I’ve seen people send a tweet and then favorite their own tweet. And it’s not a tweet with a link that contains info they may want to save for later, just random tweets to people like “@ username, hope you’re having a great day” and then they favorite it. How odd. I don’t get it. Also, I see people just tweet links all dang day long, but never interact with a single person. Those generally earn an unfollow from me pretty quick. And don’t even get me started on auto DM’s. I can’t believe people are still doing that! ;)

  3. Hilarious and so spot on. Retweets of retweets are so obnoxious, and I don’t care if you ran 4 miles today, and yesterday, and the day before. This is information everyone needs to read. Thanks for the laugh.

  4. #45 #different #hashtags #on #Facebook #posts #that #look #like #this. #iwanttoscream! That’s becoming the trend down here in Belize for some reason, promoters, marketers,etc., post a FB status and it’s like a 2 inch paragraph of hashtags.

    One of my biggest pet peeves as of late isn’t really a social media thing for the masses, but relates to the writer/blogger side of things. Don’t start groups, threads, or whatever with social media follow requests and then not bother to follow the other people back. If you’re going to post your Twitter handle, Instagram user name or whatever and ask that people follow you, have the common courtesy to follow them back. If you don’t want to follow a bunch of people, then don’t post your social media handles there. Obviously, if you are just trying to gain followers and have zero interest in actually establishing dialogue and supporting others’ travels, why should I waste my time and just help you up your numbers?

  5. I agree with all of the above, especially the food pics! That one I still don’t understand… Unless you’re eating a scorpion or a tarantula, there’s no need to share what you’re eating on social media.

  6. Hashtagging unnecessarily has to be my pet peeve – these days people aren’t doing it just on Twitter but Facebook too. Grrr

  7. I’m totally new to social media, but always wondered if I was missing something with the RT of something that someone RT’d of yours. Thanks for the explanation…and the tips. It’s good to have some guidance from someone who also doesn’t claim to be the end all be all social media guru (of course, you are great at it, but I do appreciate the humility).

  8. Ha! I didn’t even know that #2 was possible. That tells you how much I exercise!
    and I totally agree with the last one – white balance people…white balance….

  9. I hadn’t quite been able to put my finger on why I hated it when someone syncs their Facebook and Twitter updates, but you nailed it. (I knew I didn’t like that, but I thought it was strictly because the Facebook/Twitter pages were carbon copies of one another, and that’s boring!)

    You’re right, they are two very different mediums, indeed. I for one like the way I can change up the text when posting on these two platforms. Great post!

  10. Yeah, I agree that food is over shared and often photographed badly. I tend to only share food photos if they are distinct to a particular place or help illustrate the local culture somehow.

  11. Thank you for clarifying number #1. I never understood the reason behind the ‘Retweet, Retweet’, now I know there is none! Cheers for the insightful tips :)

  12. Thank you Matt! I was beginning to think I was just having a bad attitude with the whole social media Ninja thing – it can really suck the fun out of being social at all. And yes, the food pics!

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