7 Despicable Social Media Behaviors


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harryhuxford | Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Filed under: Social Media Tips & Advice

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Don’t be “that” guy!

Automatic Direct Messages Upon Following Twitter Users
I understand the motive. These people are on Twitter to drum up leads for their product or service but to send me an auto Direct Message upon me following them is just very shady. First, I see my decision to follow other Twitter users to be a friendly acknowledgement that I like what they do or I enjoy their tweets and I would like to have their tweets be a part of my daily life on Twitter. It alarms me how these Twitter users appear so affable and helpful in their tweets but turn so cold and spammy in their auto direct messages.

Second, I don’t know about you but I’ve never made a friend in the real world who then turned around and tried to sell me something as soon as we finished shaking hands. People who do this are usually called peddlers, scalpers and dealers.

Rants On Divisive Topics By Professional Twitter Accounts
I was taught that when I go to have dinner with people I don’t know very well, I should never try to talk about divisive issues like politics or religion. They just aren’t good dinner table topics and do more to alienate people and make them angry which defeats the purpose of having others over for dinner. I feel the same way about Twitter users slinging rants and insults on divisive topics on their professional Twitter accounts. It’s better to keep those topics on personal Twitter and Facebook accounts where the people there know you better.

Treating Me Like I’m Their Personal Army
I don’t enjoy it when people who haven’t taken the time to engage with me try to get me to do something for them online like take a survey or vote for them in a poll. They would have a greater chance of getting me to do favors for them if they’ve engaged with me in the past and that engagement was friendly or if they did a favor for me first. A lot of people on social media sites tend to forget the notion of reciprocal giving (you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours) and that you should extend your hand first if you expect others to offer their help to you later.

There’s an accepted term for replying to these “orders” which is “NYPA” (Not Your Personal Army).

Complaining “This Isn’t News, It’s Old” On Posts And Threads
I often go into discussion forums and appreciate new threads that contain news posts that are valuable and interesting. All too often, there’s that one user who feels it’s his job to tell everyone that the news is old. First of all, “news” is a relative term that depends upon the current knowledge of the individual reader. The term that is not relative is “current event”. A year-old article that I’ve never seen is “news” to me but it is not a “current event”. Get it? Further, the age of an article typically does not impede its usefulness and the “this is old, it isn’t news” users should refrain from typing that response.

Snobbishness, Arrogance And Disrespect Towards The New Blood
For some reason, some knowledgeable professionals enjoy picking on the ‘noobs’ (short for ‘new blood’). Maybe by picking on the people at the bottom of the totem they affirm their position on top. Who knows. Every master was once an apprentice under someone else who taught them the ropes and best practices of their niche. Degrading and making others feel dumb pours gasoline on the bridge and makes it easier for others to block you and burn that bridge forever.

Not only is it goodwill to help the up-and-comers but the new guys likely know other people who are just starting out in your niche. If you’re a respectful “teacher”, you will broaden the connections in your network as the new blood refer other ‘noobs’ to you. In addition, those new guys might be working at a company that just had an opening for a position you want. If you’re a respectful and helpful teacher, your name will come up immediately for consideration.

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Companies Ignoring Mentions And Messages On Twitter
I really enjoy how more and more companies are creating Twitter accounts to make it easier for me to engage the company directly. When I have a comment or need help, I find it easier to pose the question on Twitter than to go to the company website and look up a contact method. My enjoyment sours when I send a message or mention to a company and don’t see a response. I question whether that company is on Twitter to network and communicate with customers or if having a Twitter presence was just a line item on their social media checklist.

Bonus: The Auto-Correct Bots AKA Spelling and Grammar Police
Adding this one as number 7 because it got on my nerves lately. Imagine putting your time and effort into making an article or something of value only to be met with one-line responses that derail the conversation. So what if you forgot to use the right punctuation mark or if you misspelled a word? That doesn’t make your whole post trashable. I find that users who only post grammar police type responses are either incapable of digesting the ideas contained in the post or are too ashamed to post a genuine reply of their own (lest it be scrutinized by other self-appointed police). We have automated programs to check for grammar and spelling (which themselves aren’t 100% foolproof and are struggling to keep up with the evolution of ‘web-speak’). There’s no need to waste space pointing out the small mistakes in the works of others. Let’s keep the focus idea-driven.

Do you have any other social media pet peeves? Are there certain social media behaviors that make you ‘facepalm’? Please let me know the comments. And please feel free to contact us if you would like a free consultation about your online marketing efforts!

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8 Responses to “7 Despicable Social Media Behaviors”

  1. Julie Pianto says:

    Hey Harry – I really enjoyed your post and agreed with the majority of it :)

    My personal pet peeve is the complete lack of engagement by a lot of the people that follow me. I do send a DM to anyone who follows me, but I don’t pitch – I ask a question which will help me get to know them. Out of every 10 or 15 followers, I estimate I get one response! That tells me why they are following me – not to engage, but to get “numbers”.

    I would rather have 500 followers that are getting to know me and me them, rather than 5,000 followers who don’t give a hoot!

    • rob woods says:

      Juile, I really dislike any form of auto DM. Are you sending a personalized DM to your new followers? For me those have a far greater impact than something that feels like a form letter.

  2. Fantastic post!

    I make a point of unfollowing the automatic DM’ers. I follow you so we can talk, not so you can spam me with adverts!

    I have to admit that I have been a grammar nazi in the past though…

  3. Love the post but I feel that I must chime in about the spelling and grammar police comment.

    I fully understand that the ability to properly spell words and use proper grammar has no direct correlation to one’s intelligence… but at least to me, the opposite usually reins true, to a certain degree.

    I think when people misuse to, two, too… there, their, they’re… or overuse ellipses like I have a terrible habit of doing, it detracts from the message at hand to the point where sometimes the reader may judge the author’s intelligence.

    Character is who you are. Reputation is how others perceive who you are… BOTH matter.

    • harryhuxford says:

      Hi Jason. Your point that readers judge the intelligence of an author by their proper use of English is valid. I especially dislike the misuse of “your” for “you’re” though I am guilty of making the same mistake when I think faster than my fingers can type.

      I tend to be forgiving of language errors if the meat of the article or ideas contained in it are interesting and well thought out.

  4. kaesder says:

    Great One…

    I am thinking about making creative music videos to put on my blog (that i intend to make money with). If I include the music (not mine) in the video then that would probably be copyright infringement. But what if I don’t include it and instead give p…

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