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10 Social Media Pet Peeves


In social media we’re bound to irritate each other from time to time. Nobody’s perfect. We all make mistakes and rub each other the wrong way.

Even so, lately on my various social media sites, I’ve been feeling bombarded by some annoying tactics. They’re the kinds of things that make me want to unfollow people.

Fortunately I’m not a rash or vindictive person, and I don’t rush off to exterminate followers at the first offense.

But here are 10 of my pet peeves—social media faux pas for writers:

Pet Peeve #1: When followers send messages asking us to “check out” something. This happens a lot with new followers asking me to visit their facebook page, website, book trailer, or amazon book page. I NEVER go “check out” those sites. Those kind of messages are spam, make a bad first impression, and could do more harm than good. Most of us don’t want to feel like people are following us to gain “business.” Instead we’d rather make a genuine connection.

Pet Peeve #2: When followers send massive Facebook messages. This is probably one of my biggest pet peeves, because of the nature of getting flooded with everyone else’s responses to that message. Those kinds of messages are impersonal and feel like spam. If we really need to do a group message, make sure to let everyone know NOT to respond to the group message but to send you a private note instead.

Pet Peeve #3: When people ask for more followers. It’s natural to get excited when we’re close to reaching certain follower milestones (i.e. 100 blog followers or 500 twitter followers). But when we make a point of asking for more followers, it makes us sound desperate. It could make people think we’re only concerned about numbers and thus cause our current followers to feel unappreciated.

Pet Peeve #4: When followers use graphic pictures. This applies mostly to Pinterest. Soon after I joined, I quickly realized I couldn’t auto follow back. I was getting some very steamy pictures in my nice “happy” homepage stream. My laptop sits on the kitchen table in plain view of my kids, and I don’t want to have to worry about what they happen to see as I browse my SM sites. Even if a writer’s brand is erotic, I still think it’s wise to be sensitive to the fact that many of us are Moms with kids running around us.

Pet Peeve #5: When followers have potty mouths. Again, many of us have kids who see our twitter streams or facebook pages. That should be reason enough for us to be careful what we say. But in addition, we need to remember that we’re trying to present ourselves as professionals. If we wouldn’t complain, swear, or talk dirty in a real life professional office job, then we probably should think twice before doing so in our online professional writer’s job.

Pet Peeve #6: When followers over-do their conversations. When we post numerous tweets, pins, or updates, we risk clogging up our followers’ streams with our chatter. I have eased this problem on twitter by having “lists” where I group my followers. Even so, I’ve occasionally had to remove someone from one of my lists because his or her “noise” became overbearing.

Pet Peeve #7: When people get on social media only to promote. Social media just doesn’t work as a traditional promotional tool. People aren’t going to care about comments that promote our book, blog post, or event . . . unless they have a connection to us. So we can’t just show up on social media when we’re ready to promote. We have to be there the rest of the time too, building connections. Then when it comes time to promote, people will listen.

Pet Peeve #8: When people ignore personal messages. I try not to overlook anyone who connects with me on a personal level. I’ve had authors ignore me, and I realized I didn’t like that. I’d expected them to acknowledge me, even if briefly. Since I didn’t like being ignored, I decided to try not to overlook those who take the time to chat with me. Sure, it’s not always easy to keep up. But I’ve made it a priority to interact.

Pet Peeve #9: When new followers are friendly to earn favors. This has happens when someone starts visiting our blogs, makes a point of being friendly, and then after a short time asks us to do something for them—even something as simple as “like” their facebook page. Those kinds of requests usually leave me feeling icky and used.

Pet Peeve #10: When people make social media all about themselves. If all we do is post about our books, our blogs, our awards, our good news, our kids, etc., eventually our followers are going to think we’re conceited, even if we’re not. And pride is a sure way to alienate followers and fans. Instead, we need to find a balance of sharing about ourselves along with looking out for the needs and interests of others.

What about you? What are your social media pet peeves? Any that you’d add to my list?


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